Save the Panda

25 Sep

It started the day I ran out of eyeliner.

Not the first time. The first time I scrounged together five dollars that I didn’t really have to spend and I went to Rite Aid on my lunch break and I bought eyeliner and applied it with my iPhone in between the set of doors that pretend to let you in and the set of doors that actually do.

This happened the second time. When I seriously couldn’t afford any more because the only five dollars I could have gathered was laundry money and without the ability to purchase more underwear when others need laundering, I had to face the music: I needed clean underwear more than I needed eyeliner.

For some reason I convinced myself a long time ago that my eyes were best viewed when outlined with a thick black crayon. It might be because when I was 16 there was a girl who worked the register beside me at Kmart who showed me that in the world of eye makeup, too much can never be enough. It could also be that I’m hyperaware that my right eye is smaller than my left and I think that somehow I’m fooling everyone by distracting them with panda eyes. Probably, though, I’m a creature of habit since I’m used to seeing myself like this:


It’s kind of jarring to look in the mirror and instead see this:

 naked panda

And then I realized: this is beginning of a slow and steady decline into poverty-induced unattractiveness.

This has been going on for quite some time. The eyeliner was really the last thing to go. A few weeks ago I ran out of new contacts and found myself without funds to replace them. That means I’m back in geek glasses. That’s right: geek glasses. The glasses I left on my desk at recess because I would have rather been half-blind for kickball than have to wear them in front of people.

Let’s be honest: I was terrible at kickball regardless.

Anyway, as those of you following for any extended period of time know, I’ve descended the stairs from full-time corporate America to part-time nonprofit land and have had to adjust accordingly.

This has led me on all sorts of adventures. Last week, for example, my fridge was completely naked of offerings. It also happened to be the 60th birthday of a dear friend who thought that if 100 people RSVP on Facebook for a party, they should buy 100 hot dogs and 100 hamburgers. That worked out really well for me because they’re supremely generous and lovely and now my freezer and fridge are full of everything I could possibly need to celebrate Labor Day every single day from now until Christmas.

And I have.

Please note that this means I’m on a diet comprised almost entirely of hot dogs and hamburgers. While without contacts. And eyeliner. And other various first-world comforts.  I have a hole in the crotch of one of my pairs of jeans that I’ve become very strategic about keeping hidden while I walk or sit so that I can still pass them off as one of my two pairs of jeans.

I’m going downhill, guys. Way downhill.

There are some things that naturally work out to balance these inconveniences I suppose. Like the fact that I’m walking to work now because I can’t afford to reload my bus card so I’ll stay fit. Or that my hair is down to my butt because paying for someone to cut my hair seems like an absurd waste of fistfuls of cash. Perhaps these required inconveniences that will keep me fit and long-haired will help balance out the required inconveniences that keep be dangerously close to no clean laundry and no shaving.

The good news is that this Sunday I conquer the beast that’s been chasing me since January: the 10K. Longtime readers will recall that 2011 was the year I wrote a post every day for my 365, 2012 was the year I missed having a 365, and 2013 is the year of a fitness 365 culminating in a 10K at the end of September. We’ve arrived. On Sunday, it’s do or die. If it’s the latter, I’ve already appointed a ghost writer to finish up the blog. If it’s the former, I can ride out fitness through the rest of 2013 and look long and hard down the barrel of 2014’s 365.

From the look of my fridge and eyes, I’m leaning toward a financial one. I could make it a campaign. Something like Save $10,000 in a Year or I Have to Donate an Egg.

Or maybe just Save the Panda. 

naked panda


29 Responses to “Save the Panda”

  1. donofalltrades September 25, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    I wasn’t sure whether or not I should be laughing at or crying for you, so I just mostly laughed. I hope that’s ok! Good luck on the 10K, I’m sure you’ll do great! I’ve been training for a 1/2 marathon in October for about 7 weeks now. I’m down almost 20 pounds and have run 8 miles in a row thus far without dying. This Sunday is a 10 miler, so that’s sort of my make it or break it distance. You sort of inspired me with your contest a couple of months ago, so thanks for that. Maybe I should send you some mustard or something as gratitude??


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:45 am #

      a 1/2 marathon!? That’s amazing. That’s seriously amazing. I can’t even imagine that – it’s twice what I did Sunday. More than twice! Ugh. Go you – that’s epic. When is the big day?

      Believe it or not I’m almost out of hot dogs. Maybe you should send more hot dogs. 😉


  2. Snigdha Srivastava September 25, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Hey jackie!!
    A very entertaining post 😀 loved your panda concept 😉
    I hav one question.. I completed the 5k challenge a few weeks back and m looking forward to a program to train me for the 10k.. Any advice please??
    P.s. I am sure you wont need a ghost to finish up your blog…
    All the best!


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:44 am #

      Hi there! Why thank you. Grats on completing the 5K!!

      I must admit that I set out with a training schedule in hand, just as I did for the 5K but it kind of made me miserable so I just tried to run at least a couple of miles a week and then have a long run somewhere in there. I threw in some cross training from time to time and took rest days after the long runs. I probably could have done better with a training schedule so I don’t recommend repeating what I did – just being honest.

      I can tell you I’ve used both Couch to 5K (Cool Running) and Runner’s World Magazine’s 5K plans and both with success. I didn’t care for the 10K schedule that Runner’s World provided though they may have several different ones, but I bet Cool Running has a good one since their stuff tends to be geared to noobs.

      At the very least, try to get 3 runs in a week, even if one of them is just a mile or two and half-assed. Make one as long and as far as you can muster without killing yourself and throw some days of cross training in (biking, Jillian Michaels, whatever you please) to build strength. You’ll be just lovely. 🙂 GOOD LUCK!


  3. theexsaffa September 25, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    As always I look forward to reading more of your blogs very entertaining and very cleverly formatted . I would like to get where you are with my blogging but its early days and Im way behind in the blogging scene. Good luck with the hot dog diet:)


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:38 am #

      hey, thanks. I don’t know that one can be “way behind” in the blogging scene. you’re there, so you’re doing it. you’ll get better and when you get bored, you’ll fuss with formats. blogging shouldn’t be pressure-filled. you’re doing juuuust fine 😉


      • theexsaffa October 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

        Thanks I think ? All things considered Im really enjoying the blogging ,its really fun:) Reading your blogs have given me hope as I like the light gearted not so serious approach being too serious all of the time can be a serious bummer!


  4. Marcia September 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I agree with donofalltrades in that I chose to laugh along with you. You make me chuckle. So here is one back for you. My mother’s aunt came to live in her town and was placed in a nursing home there. Since she was on government aid, she was allowed $30 a month to spend on herself. Mom managed her money for her and it became harder and harder to supply the cigarettes she required on that amount. Something had to go. My “fancy” great-aunt liked her makeup. She dyed her hair Lucy red at age 85. So when she ran out of eyebrow pencil one day, she used her lipstick to paint her brows on. Mom hurriedly picked her up for an out-of-town appointment this day and failed to notice the brows until halfway there. She about ran into the ditch trying to rub off those brows. Let’s just say Mom found it in her heart to spend her own money on a new eyebrow pencil.

    I’m a panda, too, more so than a raccoon although sometimes I feel like that in the morning.


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:36 am #

      lol at your mother’s aunt. What a dame. That’s some serious stubborn right there. 🙂


  5. Jill Foer Hirsch September 25, 2013 at 11:56 pm #

    First, the before and after of the panda made me laugh in such a way that I snorted and nearly woke my husband. Sometimes a picture really is worth 1000 words. Second, I could never do the eyeliner thing, but when I apply mascara to my lower lashes it invariably smudges and ends up looking like eyeliner. Yeah, I meant to do that. Lastly, when you’re out of eyeliner might also be the best time to be stuck wearing glasses. Good luck with all of that…


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:35 am #

      Snorting is the goal. You’ve done me proud. And no, being out of eyeliner is the WORST time to be wearing glasses. Now my tiny, unbalanced eyes are hidden behind frames, thus making them tinier and squintier and less balanced.

      It’s terrible. It’s a terrible thing.


  6. knotrune September 26, 2013 at 5:42 am #

    Maybe if your hair gets long enough you can sell it to a wigmaker 🙂 I cut my own, more because I don’t like people touching my hair and poking me in the ear with their sharp scissors than to save money, but it is a fringe benefit that I have more money for yarn 😉


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:34 am #

      You know, I hear this a lot but where in the hell are all these wigmakers handing out money for long hair? How do I find these people and not end up in some alleyway cut into pieces? Is this just an across-the-pond thing?


      • knotrune October 1, 2013 at 4:53 am #

        I have no idea, it’s a thing I got from books. I think the Victorians did it 🙂 no idea if it’s still done! Lollipop challenge? 😉


  7. Ice_Badger September 26, 2013 at 9:46 am #

    firstly Awww…panda and then awwwwwww…panda!! I am aware that is not the main point of the post but…panda!
    secondly…good luck for the 10k! only you don’t need luck so instead I wish you strong legs and easy breathing! they are more useful when running!
    I am dancing out on sunday, I can attempt to dance 10k in sympathy 🙂 (i can’t promise i will make it…I have to stop dancing if other people don’t carry on…)


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:33 am #

      No, you got it. It’s about the panda.

      And thanks 😀


  8. Jules September 26, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    Oh god that panda looks absolutely ghastly without the black patches.

    I think you’ll do just fine for the race. The hardest part is the training. The race is more of a celebration of all hard work you’ve done to prepare, kind of a form of closure. At least that’s how I see it. You didn’t prepare didn’t you? muahahaha


    • Jules September 26, 2013 at 2:10 pm #

      *edit typo* You DID prepare, r-right?


      • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:33 am #

        For a moment I thought it was a riddle. Post forthcoming. I may or may not be dead.


  9. annisa2912 September 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm #

    i love panda ❤


  10. EmKay September 27, 2013 at 10:56 am #

    “And then I realized: this is beginning of a slow and steady decline into poverty-induced unattractiveness. So much heart and laughter in this sentence alone. Thank you!


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:31 am #

      Thanks for relishing my pain 😉


  11. silkpurseproductions September 28, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    I wish our financial situations weren’t so closely mirrored, but I love your attitude about it.
    The panda shot with and without eyeliner is priceless. You need to market that idea. I’d buy a T-shirt. Of course I might have trouble coming up with the money for it…


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:30 am #

      I kind of stole it so that’s probably a poor life choice. But then again it’s probably not gone through the proper copyright channels and maybe I could make enough money to stabilize my finances before they discover it.

      Then again it seems my target demographic is also broke.


  12. philosophermouseofthehedge September 30, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    That panda looks glued down. It would make a great t-shirt.
    Hope the run went well!


    • Jackie October 1, 2013 at 12:29 am #

      Well is perhaps a stretch, but it went. 🙂


  13. cavegirlmba October 29, 2013 at 5:35 am #

    Very nice piece – it would be a shame if you handed this over to a ghost writer.


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