Tag Archives: self-improvement

Come to the Cool Kids Lunch Table

16 Jan

Look: I made buttons. They’re over there on the right. Remember how last time I said something about how if I was a nice person I might put all this motivational nonsense into one convenient location so that I can use my posts to talk about my unwillingness to do laundry in a timely fashion and my discomfort with everyday life situations and keep all my other stuff where I try to be a moderately better person over there in faraway land? Well there they are. Over there in faraway land. 

Now I need to put some things there and I want you to be the things. For now those fancy homemade buttons I fashioned with my own paint program and a google search lead curious ducklings to a previous post I’ve written regarding Lollipop Tuesdays, The Gaunlet, and 365 Projects. In an ideal world where my blog is cosmically awesome and you’re all supportive, those links will change to pages that instruct you how to start a challenge and links to people who have completed them and lived to tell the tale. So If you’ve successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, a 365 Project, or a Lollipop Tuesday, and have documented the experience in any way, I’d like to tell people that you’re cool.

You, yes you could put yourself through a serious challenge of discomfort in social situations, a dedication to completing one daily task that you struggle with, or to repeating the same small achievement every day for 365 days. And in return, I will grant you a link on my website, which statistics have shown could perhaps have some sort of percentage of my readership click on if they are absolutely without anything else in the world to do at the time.

So there we go: I’m made little image linky things over there on the right for you. And kind of for me. Mostly for me. But a little more for you, and I think that’s worth something.

And I had my dad draw my cats for you.

cats

© 2014 Jackie’s Dad

Aren’t they precious? I love them so. Lola is the frazzled one and Hobbes is the one who is grumpy because his cake is gone. They’re very accurate. I’ve begun to harass my artist father to doodle things so I can steal the doodles and design my blog after them. That’s right: change is coming. Lots of uncomfortable change. 

See? I have new buttons and I’ve gifted you cartoon cats. Join my page of cool people and let me link to you.

Seriously, if you’ve completed a 365 Project of any kind, successfully completed a 30 Day Challenge, or tried a genuine Lollipop Tuesday and have written, virtual proof of it, I’d love to invite you to the cool kids lunch table. I was never really invited myself, so I thought I’d start my own and invite everyone.

Read about the things on the buttons, do the things the buttons say, get added to the buttons. For those of you who want to be added, hit me in the face with a link. For those who’ve thought about starting a challenge, may the half-promise of perhaps-fame embolden you.

Do it for cake-starved Hobbes. 

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The Next 365

2 Jan

Okay. It’s January 2nd, 2014 and I have a 365 to account for.

For those of you just tuning in, it’s been exactly three years to the day since I wrote my very first post in my very first 365 Challenge: to fire up a blog I once adored and let sit dormant for years with one post every day for 365 days. It was far more successful and fulfilling than I could have imagined and I’ve become an advocate for 365 Projects ever since, much to the irritation of my friends and family.

In 2012, what I now refer to as The Dark Days, I didn’t complete a 365. In 2013, I enacted Project Fat Ass. To quote myself: “…before I give up all hope of ever being the kind of person who can run for 6+miles and/or fit into single-digit clothing, I’d like to give myself a fair shot by forcing myself to face my fat every single day for 365 days.  And then of course running a 10K so I can be sure something tangible came out of it: a certificate and a t-shirt.”

I did. I did all of that except get in the single digits (they’re a terrible myth, I’m sure of it). I exercised every day and ran a 5K and then exercised every day and ran a 10K and I got a shirt and a finisher’s medal. I took shots of myself every month and tracked my progress . At my least fit, I was 189. At my fittest, I was 155. It was really hard and it was completely worth it.

Originally I placed the 10K at the end of September because I thought it would give me an extra few months to harden up my body post-6-miles before reporting my progress. I thought about all the extra motivation I’d have thinking about how awesome it was that I finally ran that far and that long.

In reality I kind of blew it.

I mean, I walked for 20 minutes most days and sometimes I’d even do something pretty taxing but post-10K Jackie was nothing like pre-10K Jackie.  I should have gone harder. I won’t say I failed because hot damn I completed a 10K but I also won’t say that I was a warrior those last three months. If pre-10K Jackie were around, she’d be pretty upset. I’ve gotten pretty soft.

It’s all good though. Not only because I spent all year understanding my body and my motivations and what does and doesn’t work (and how disgusting my habits used to be), but because it’s January 2nd and it’s time for a new 365.

I was thinking about my big accomplishment this year and celebrating my new improved self with a bag of Skittles and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food (which I now eat in two days, not one), when I really struggled to think of something I wanted to do every day for a year.  I also thought about how many of you have talked about doing smaller daily challenges (30 Days) and how many of you took me up on my Gauntlet challenge earlier this year.

I can do lots of things better or differently than I’m doing them now. I had a whole list of ideas – I could spend all my free time only reading books, I could be vegan, I could go carless for a year, I could cook from scratch every single night, I could say yes to everything for a month – there are many possibilities I could dabble in daily that would seriously affect the kind of person I am and the effectiveness of my personhood a year from now.

It’s kind of hard to choose.

So this year my 365 is actually a series of 30 Day Challenges. I have twelve chances to adopt a new habit within thirty days. Some of them might stick, some of them surely won’t – but every single month I get to focus intently on something I want to be better at and share my failures with you all.

I’ve already picked the first month. As penance for the last three months of slacking, I’ll whip out my tried and true Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred so that I can stop hating on my soft self for the pathetic walks in October and November and the shameless cookie munching through December. That should also give you all ample time to tell me what you want me to do for 30 Days.

That’s right: I’m taking reader suggestions. I’d love to hear from you. Some of my best Lollipop Tuesdays have come from you guys. Heck, we can do one together or you can try to live vicariously through me or you can just suggest something you think I suck at so that you can point and laugh while I struggle.

In 2012 I wanted to be the kind of person who was fit. I wanted to be able to jog and maybe even run a race. It seemed completely out of my territory and I was so scared leading up to the 10K that I wanted any possible way to get out. Because deep down I’m a little whiny bitch and a bit of a pussy.

That’s truth right there. I know that it’s vulgar and I don’t usually do vulgar but that’s truth. And it’s probably true about all of us, really.

Let’s do 2014 correctly, shall we? We’ll live with intent, try new things, and laugh at ourselves. Of course you’re always welcome to just laugh at me, but I do hope that at some point this year you’ll consider joining me. If you aren’t sure what the rules are for a 30 Day Challenge, you can review my recommendations in numbers 1, 2, and 3 here. Eventually I might even put it all in one convenient location because I love you so hard.

Oh, and thank you. Whether you’ve been here since the first post or just got on the train, there is absolutely no doubt I would be a fat, motivationless pile of self-produced oils and cheetoh dust if you didn’t support me and ignore my frequent cat, unicorn, and World of Warcraft references. You’re swell. Thanks. As a token of my gratitude, here’s an oldie but a goodie: a large cat either being offered up to a nation or getting a breast exam in front of one.

cat feel up

Thank you and Happy New Year, all. The suggestion box is open. 

Adventures in Backsliding

6 Nov

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, my Jillian Michaels and running-infused workout plan has deteriorated into frequent light walking and lifting (cereal boxes), and as I write this, I’m stuffing my face with fifteen American dollars worth of beef fried rice. There is also an egg roll. And some Scotch, because I like to marry my trash with class.

In short, this:

Image

I ran a 10K about a month ago and in the time that’s passed it appears I’ve become a bit of a loser. Perhaps loser is a strong term. I can be hard on myself when I’m shame-slamming takeout.

This happens. I’m trying to find a way to get it to stop, but it is a pattern I can’t deny. Sometimes I like to project my own personal trends onto the general human population, and I think that’s actually kind of a fair thing to do because I do represent a small percentage of the human population – the people who avoid laundering underwear until they’ve exhausted their emergency underwear and swimsuit bottoms – the people who find it difficult to stay in little boxes in big towers, jabbering about minutia that determines whether an enormous corporation gives money to another enormous corporation – the people who sometimes want to look at their student loan debt and then look at their empty cupboards and make the former feel better by ordering beef fried rice so that they can immediately alleviate at least one of their issues at hand. Deliciously. While simultaneously rocking a huge hole in the crotch of their jeans.

So that’s me. I’m America. A fraction of America, anyway, and I’m a pretty serious backslider.

I frequently, on occasion, find myself in quite a schlump after quite a bit of gained ground. It’s a bummer. One likes to think that one has learned a lesson and is forever freed from it, but the fact of the matter is that after I go crazy for months at a time trying to conquer everything at hand, I will reward myself the best way I know how: sitting on my couch in unclean clothes and eating food that probably isn’t what it was marketed to me as. And then I will feel so ashamed by this that I will continue to self-soothe in a similar regressive pattern until I rebel against myself and go back into months on conquistador setting.  

It’s frustrating. Mostly because I spit my brains into a public forum where it appears the subjects are cats, food, discomfort in a variety of social situations, gaining ground, and losing ground. After a while of writing about these things, you start to notice yourself.

But it’s okay. I’ve got moxie. And I’m still a young whippersnapper but I’ve been around long enough to realize that there are two  Jackies on the spectrum of Jackiedom – the one that’s a pile of cheesy poof eating, unshowered slop that plays Warcraft all day and has literally no human interaction, and the one that’s in magazines and giving speeches and leading a very happy group of folks in doing whatever they all happily want to do, and that every day is a choice to continue the struggle against the former and to get closer to the latter. If I ever get to the latter and am asked how I got there by young hopefuls, I hope I have the courage to admit that it was a series of backsliding and pounding theater-style boxes of Milk Duds.

 I did achieve some things, though, in my time away from general live achievements. For example, while I was lounging in my pajamas using my sickness as an excuse to drink Scotch and split-screen watch Netflix and browse useless Internet musings, I learned that Chinese takeout containers are designed to conveniently unfold into a sort of semi-normal plate, and that has really served me well in the 30 minutes. So that’s nice. Payoff is nice.

I guess it’s that time again. That time where I look at every single thing in my life and scrutinize it relentlessly until I’m so disgusted that I spit shine my entire house, go for a 3 mile run, register for a race, organize my to-do list in terms of 1-week, 3-month, and 1-year goals, and thoroughly groom my cats for good measure.

I suppose that as long as I backslide only a little less than the amount of ground that I cover in my motivated periods, I’ll always be moving forward. So there’s that. I’m on the move. I’m getting things done, one overhauling/backsliding segment at a time.

Resolution reevaluation time is approaching quickly, however, so I really have to get my sloth gremlins at bay. I’m supposed to be in the best shape of my life by the end of December and I was doing pretty well there until I convinced myself that 20 minutes of light walking per day still met my exercise quota. Which, technically, it does – but light walking isn’t going to burn off this Chinese. Or yesterday’s. Or last week’s. My vagina doctor said so.

That, and I told myself I’d travel outside the country this year for a resolution. Last year I got a passport, and this year I’m supposed to use it. So far, the closest I’ve gotten to international travel is ordering contacts from the United Kingdom.

Time to get on the ball. And since I’m pretty broke, I guess that means I’m going to have to just make it work. Looks like I’m hopping a Megabus to Canada.

Conquistador setting, commence. 

I Beat the Blerch

1 Oct

Happy Lollipop Tuesday, ladies and gentlemen.

I hope that by my classic opening sentence for a Lollipop Tuesday post, you’ll recognize that I’m alive and well after attempting my first 10K this past weekend, but I suppose that the first thing a ghost writer would do is study my recurring themes and voice and copy it for the sake of consistency so I guess you’ll just never really know if the person blogging from now on is the real Jackie or not. I can’t make that decision for you.

I can, however, tell you that on Sunday morning at approximately 10:30am, my butt cheeks coordinated in perfect and opposing harmony to power me across the finish line of my very first 10K race.

In retrospect, there are a few things wrong with that sentence. Particularly the part about it being a race. I’m sure it was for some people, but the only person I was competing with that morning was the fat girl inside me, telling me to just stop and take a bus to the end. I was prepared for that, which is why I had two shortbread cookies in a tiny plastic baggie in the cup holder of the car, which was parked back at the start line. And since I knew fat Jackie was going to kick in around mile 3, I outsmarted her. She could either walk more than three miles back to the car in shame, or she could finish the less than three miles ahead of her, and then take a complimentary shuttle back to her well-deserved bag of cookies.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being an adult is all about properly leveraging your motivators.

That would be me, pre-race. And Dave. And the friend who challenged me in January to make my 5K resolution into a 10K instead. Let's call him Lord Pickles.

That would be me, pre-race. And Dave. And the friend who challenged me in January to make my 5K resolution into a 10K instead. Let’s call him Skeeter.

 

Let’s move on to the second inaccuracy in my former sentence: the use of the word “first”. While it’s true that it was my first 10K, I feel uncomfortable about calling it out like that because seriously, I doubt that there will be another. Let’s face it guys: I suck at running. I bitch and I moan and I’m uncomfortable and the only way to get me to do it, really, is to either bully myself into it with embarrassment and fear tactics, or to promise myself some pastries I squirreled away for myself.  There’s a chance that I’ll revisit a 5K now so that I can work on having a less embarrassing pace, but it’s highly unlikely that I’m going to endure this particular kind of pain and suffering again.

What pain and suffering, you say?

At the beginning of a race, I scan the thousands of participants for whom I anticipate will be the weakest in the pack.  These include but are not limited to the old and feeble, the fat and frumpy, and (of course) the children. I then proceed to watch every single person I pegged out for losers pass me as I huff and puff and consider blowing the whole thing off. I spent the entire race alternating between trying to pass a father-son team who ran ahead and then walked until I passed them and then ran ahead again, and an old lady with a fanny pack and a serious hunch who did the same. I very keenly remember trying to chug up a hill in the very first mile and reminding myself to breathe and relax because it was just the beginning as a woman with enormous haunches harnessed her ass power and soared uphill without effort.

They all beat me. Every single one. And in case that wasn’t bad enough, at mile 2.5, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked to see my boss smiling and leaping ahead. I could have tried to keep pace to rescue what remained of my dignity, but let’s be honest: there was no guaranteeing I was going to make it to the end and it wasn’t a time to get cocky.

So that. That pain and suffering.

The third and final issue I take with the sentence I was too lazy to delete is that it contained the term “opposing harmony”, which I’m pretty sure can’t be a thing. I’ve tried to justify it many times and I suppose there can be an opposing harmony that exists, perhaps, among counterweights, for example, and Paula Abdul and the cartoon cat in Opposites Attract, but there is a better way to describe the way one’s butt cheeks work together than “opposing harmony”.  I’ll blame the ghost writer for that lack of inventiveness…and basically everything terrible written from now until this blog dies a hard and humiliating death, just like the real Jackie did at the 10K on Sunday.

Just kidding.

Maybe.

Seriously though, thanks to everyone who has followed me from the couch to the 5K to the 10K. If you’ve been reading, you know this transition has been far from natural for me but I’m 30 pounds lighter than when some of you first started reading, I’m not out of breath when I walk to the bus stop, and sometimes I’ll even walk to get groceries instead of taking the car. When I was having a really hard time pounding the pavement to a decent pace around the 4.5 mile mark, I thought lovingly of you all and how incredibly humiliated I’d be if I went so public with this and failed horribly.

Which is why the real Jackie couldn’t bear to tell you the truth and instead hired someone to carry the torch of her blog in a sort of veiled semi-serious voice regarding her passing.

Regardless, whatever Jackie is left may have completed her New Year’s Resolution but still has three months left in her Project Fat Ass 365. That’s 90 more days of huffing and puffing and seeing if I can really realize my true goal for the year: to be in the best shape of my life before the late 20’s swallows me in its beefy jowls of doom.

Hey: if I pop in Jillian Michaels now, I might have enough time to burn off all the motivation cookies it took me to train for the 10K. 

By the way, if you’re wondering where the title came from, please go here and read everything on the site. Or maybe don’t because then you’ll never come back to me. It’s okay. I’ll understand.

The Great Filth Festering, Part Deux

11 Sep

Guys, remember that time I told you all about how I’m usually a clean freak but my life shifted priorities somehow and I instead gave up on everything and found a bag of rotten mutant potatoes hiding under my bar?

Oh, some of you are new. Hello ducklings. Catch up here: (linky link)

Well anyway, I’ve deteriorated again.

I don’t know that I ever truly recovered, actually. I kind of have gotten into the habit of building a domicile of stench and humiliation until a wire shorts in my head and I remember that I don’t like to be dirty and I clean everything that I touch or touches me until it’s all sparkling and glorious. Even Dave. I guess that’s just how I operate lately. I’m busy and I’ve determined that one of the first things that can go is my sense of cleanliness and dignity.

I think it started when I took on yet another gig a few weeks ago in spite of already having two part time jobs, two side projects, and two blogs (Don’t worry I’m just a contributor there (linky link)). I love you. Don’t leave me.

Apparently I tend to overwork myself in twos. I also have two cats. I’m putting them on the list. They can be little time suckers. Did you know you have to feed them?

At the time I thought I was at max capacity, I was running low on money and high on junk in my house so I decided to have a yard sale. However, not having a yard, I had to call a friend who had one and ask to borrow theirs. I then proceeded to pack up my life belonging’s, sticker them for an embarrassingly low price, drive 20 minutes away from my house, and set them up in someone else’s yard. Afterward I had every intention of taking the unsold items to Goodwill but instead was beat from battling fannypacked hagglers all day and left it all in the car. So in addition to an apartment that was accumulating filth in the midst of my demanding schedule, I now owned a vehicle stuffed to the brim with crap I didn’t even want.

So it naturally follows that I was swimming in my stench pool of an apartment this past weekend when I reached a new low in the land of Jackie: I invested in my first roll of fly tape.

I’m going there. And you’re coming with me. Remember: there’s no judging on The Jackie Blog.

For those of you who’ve never let yourselves get this low, fly tape is a roll of paper with sappy sugary goo all over it that you slowly spiral down and out of the small cardboard prison that contains it and then hang from various places where flies accumulate so that they fly toward it with high hopes and instead are stuck to the glorious goo that feeds them.

I’m not really sure how the fly thing happened, honestly. Though I hunted high and low for the source that fed them, the fact of the matter is that they were there because a film of filth had descended upon my domicile. No crumb sweeping or dish doing would oust the beast I bore into the world. I didn’t have the time to figure out what would, so I bought fly tape and dangled it precariously above my living room sofa.

I almost felt bad about dooming the fools to a sticky, static death by goo tape but I was trying to take a nap between shifts the other day and they proceeded to swirl and flit and then procreate on me. flies

You heard me correctly. I was attempting to nap on my couch and was frequently woken by the slight itch that accompanies two flies landing on your kneecap and fornicating. If you ever need a confirmation that your life is spiraling out of control and you need to get your act together, let flies bumping uglies on you in the festering filth of your stench cocoon seal the deal. For me it didn’t; my parents did.

Yes, it was a bright and shiny Saturday morning when I woke to realize that my parents were a mere 45 minutes outside the city and they were about to confirm that their youngest child was indeed their weakest combination of genes. In case their gut feelings hadn’t yet confirmed it, the fly tape harboring 8 dead flies above her sofa surely would.

I was outside putting the finishing touches on brushing my cat when they casually approached bearing gifts of groceries because of the sense of disarray my voice had in a phone call a few days prior. There were oodles of food bags containing everything from steaks on ice to my favorite home town chips, homemade ice tea, and a bag of baby potatoes.

I told her I couldn’t be trusted with potatoes after what happened last time but she said she had faith in me. She’s a good mom.

Of course if I hadn’t just descended upon my apartment like a hurricane to get rid of surface dirt, immediately noticeable neglect, and the long spiral of fly tape above my couch, she might have reconsidered. Perhaps I ought to schedule a visit with my parents on some sort of regular basis so that my apartment can only dive so deep into the cesspool before I’m forced to remedy it or be shamed out of the family unit. Since their visit, I’ve been fly-free. But my dishes need to be done. And there’s still that car full of yard sale items that have to be put somewhere…

Hey, the good news is the fly tape is gone. And I’m headed out for a Lollipop Tuesday adventure tomorrow night. I’m going to a mentoring workshop. Yeah: this well-adjusted adult is going to influence ripe, young minds.

Maybe if I stick with it long enough, I can talk them into a little light cleaning. 

Milton Waddams Is My Spirit Animal

7 Aug

I’m starting to really resent my student loans.

Well, I guess I’ve kind of resented them for a while. Since about the time they started being, you know, due. 

In my slightly older and barely wiser years, I’m now starting to recall all those conversations I blacked out for when I was younger. Those ones about how I was going to pay for college and how banks will just give you money and that everyone was doing it and it was the only way to get an education. Kids all across America were being told that they could go to college if only they filled out the FAFSA and clicked their mouses a few times. 

Well, I’m sure not all kids were having that conversation. In many homes across America, the conversation was whether they should pursue the scholarship for dressage or for water polo. But in my town, horses were for the Amish and swimming was only in a river, so my conversation was pretty average: I took out a lot of money on the understanding that everyone was doing it, and that it was the only way to make sure I got a job.

What a bunch of malarkey.

I had grown ass adults selling 5- and 6-digit loans to me like crack dealers. No interest while in school they said. You’ll make more money when you graduate they said. It’s good debt because they can’t take your education from you they said.

High honor roll, folks. I was clearly undeserving. How did I listen to that bunch of horse manure? They can’t take my education but they sure as hell can take my life post-college. And they have. They haaaave.

As many followers of the Jackie saga know, I was once a visiting member of the corporate jungle as an executive assistant for a nice chunk of my life. I indulged in their expense reports, their endless office supply closets, their galas and lunch meetings. I had to eventually quit because it was going to give me a freaking stroke but man was it nice to have that paycheck.

Of course when your job pushes you to the teetering edge of major stroke risk, you’re inclined to spend your money on things that help you forget about said impending stroke. Like great food and shopping and online orders and drapes and anything else you can stare at while you’re not at work so you can feel like you’re not at work. But after a while you realize that you’re spending over 40 hours a week with a knot in your stomach and if you add the hours you stay awake at night because you get woken up by texts and emails from your boss that remind you to do something you already did two weeks ago, you realize that your entire life blows, excellent food and furniture or not. And you can either continue on the path to unhappiness and strokedom or try to get a job you enjoy.

So that’s what I did. I left my big, beautiful wood desk in a private suite, threw all my business professional clothes in the closet, and sailed into the ocean of non-profits and jobs in my field to see if I could piece together enough money each month to pay my bills. At the moment, that consists of three part-time jobs: one non-profit, one for-profit, and one constantly rotating theater thing. With those powers combined, I’m Captain Jackie: almost content citizen who can almost pay her bills…if we don’t count those enormous piles of cash she owes to the banks who gave her an education all those years ago. You know, the ones big enough to have bought a house or a new car or fund a wedding, or do all three meagerly. 

The peculiar thing about such a move is that when you switch concentrations of work (unless you’re a lucky bastard), you go from climbing the ladder in the field you were working in and somewhat respected for to having to go to the bottom of the climb again. It’s like being in the 80’s on chutes and ladders just when some jackass of a snake bites you and sends you to the first row again. And so the majority of the last several months of my time at work have been attempting to demonstrate that I am indeed a fully functioning human being, capable of great feats when equipped with tasks, a computer and organizational goals.

Of course, being equipped at all is a bit of a task in the nonprofit world. In fact, I went into work just this past week to find an email stating that someone else was being hired and that it would be great if I could pack up my files and move to the back corner of the office, where I started when I got hired, and used the company-shared laptop instead of the beautiful, large-screen Mac that comprised the sole perk of my working environment. 

Well that and the chips at staff meetings are pretty good.

milton

Milton, my spirit animal.

So I’m feeling a little more Milton Waddams-y than usual and while I’m juggling these three gloriously half-baked bill payers, my resentment grows toward that enormous wad of cash I borrowed for a few years that could have been a mortgage or a backpacking trip throughout, well, the entire freaking world really.

I don’t like to be discontent, and discontent I am. So August is the month of shaking things up. I’m sucking at a lot right now (by the by, I didn’t work out at all for two days in a row. TWO DAYS IN A ROW. I fell off the trolley. Please don’t leave me). My first plan of attack is to download Final Fantasy 8, fashion a blanket fort in my living room, and live in a pile of cheese curl powder and my own body oils until I complete it. Then once I’m done mourning the Jackie of Suckage Past, I’m going to dive directly into the bowels of Jackie of Amazeballs Future. I don’t know what she’s like yet, or how uncomfortable her bowels may or not be as a dwelling space, but I’m excited to find out.

Unfortunately I’m quite certain that every version of Jackie comes with student loan debt and not a backpack full of world-traveling possibilities.

But that’s okay. I’m going to cope. I’ve gathered the blankets and simply have to acquire the cheese curls and I’m all set.

See? This adulthood thing is easy. 

See you on the flip side. Jackie of Suckage Past, out. 

The Pros and Cons of Half-Jackies

17 Jul

I spent a large portion of last evening weighing the pros and cons of donating my eggs.

I just turned 27. There’s a lot to do.

By “a lot to do”, I mean “shit’s expensive and sometimes I think about donating my eggs”.

Sometimes isn’t a lot. It’s like, three times. Once, when I saw an ad at a bus stop saying I could snag 10 grand for a little potential half-Jackie, once more the other day when I made a joke to Dave about it, and for the third time last night when an excellent friend said she’d been considering it.

Some friends get coffee, some donate eggs together.

We’re both logical beings. Kind of. And after we measured each other’s level of sincerity (mine was at 15%, hers was at 45%), we began to look up everything we could possibly find on the magical interwebz about the pros and cons of donating our eggs.

In case you’re curious, it’s not as easy as just looking good on paper. Sure, it’s pretty standard that people want babies from degree-carrying, attractive egg donors, but there’s a whole lot that goes into the slushie that is my body that I can’t really control. Suddenly, I found myself poring over pages of desirable egg donor qualities, measuring how I stacked up next to what was one of the highest rated potential donors: genius Asians.

If you’re reading this and you’re an genius Asian, get thee to a hospital. They’ll suck your eggs right out of you and slap a check in your hand in no time. I, however, don’t get in so easily. I’m the kind of gal who has done what I can with what was given to me. And what was given to me was a big pile of recessive, sickly, or otherwise degenerative DNA. I got my mother’s creaky knees and migraines, my father’s asthma and allergies, and more teeth than my mouth got the memo for. I’m blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and so pale you can map the blood flow through my veins to most of my major organs. My family is chock full of brown haired, hazel eyed natural tanners so I’m either adopted, or I’m a great underdog story about a mess of genes that lost every war they fought but turned into a fully-functional person in spite of it.

I’m thinking there won’t be a big rush to my egg donor application.

eggs

I like to think my eggs look like this. Close, right?

I’m thinking they wouldn’t be too supportive of exchanging a half-Jackie for a cool ten grand, in spite of the fact that it could fix my car, get me a nice deposit on a new place, and get me out of credit card debt. I mean, when you look at it that way, kids are really great.

Of course, the magical interwebz also had a host of horror stories to share, which brought my 15% down to a 5%. I have to admit that it was mostly the part about how you have to inject yourself with hormones and how after you do all that if you’re unable to have the eggs extracted even if it’s through no fault of your own, you only get a couple hundred dollars. You also sometimes have to wait for over a year or two to get matched with someone, even in the event that there really is a mother out there who wants a gawky, toothy, snarky half-Jackie for her own… which is unlikely.

So all that got me thinking… what would I rather do for 10 grand than wait two years, pump myself full of hormones, bring a human being into this world that I can never see, and have someone stab my ovary with a transvaginal needle, resulting in possible complications for which I have no medical insurance coverage?

Lots of things. But mostly probably a 365. After all, I’m half way through mine and it’s about time I start kicking around some ideas for next year. It is possible that I could raise $10,000 in a year by extreme couponing, gigging on the side, and hoarding spare change like Gollum? Maybe I should raise the stakes on myself and if I don’t have $10,000 in my account by the end of the year, I have to apply to be an egg donor.

That’s a fun game. ..all I need is a good name for the journey.

Now taking submissions.

The Great Filth Festering

10 Jul

My apartment turned on me yesterday like milk: all at once and gag-reflex levels of sour.

You see, for the past several weeks I’ve been trying to work on that switch in my brain that goes off without warning and sends me into a frenzy of I CAN’T LIVE IN THIS MESS IT’S DISGUSTING I’M DISGUSTING I HAVE TO FIX IT ALL RIGHT NOW.

Sometimes this will happen when the house is truly messy. Sometimes it will happen because there is a sock on the floor in the kitchen and I can’t explain how or why. The attacks come from nowhere and there’s been little that has proven helpful in confronting it.

Lately, I’ve been working on it by trying to ease into the filth. Not nasty filth, but a general lived-in filth. It’s been difficult, but it’s all part of the trying task of not being a crazy person. The plan was to get comfortable with a shelf undusted, cat litter unscooped, a dish unrinsed. You know, like a well-adjusted human being might do. So as part of training over the course of a week, I had been letting a few things accumulate to which I’m typically quite attentive. Like the garbage. And the dishes. And, well, lots of things.

Remember: there’s no judging on The Jackie Blog.

Anyway, I had decided my training session was over and that I would clean the house thoroughly this past Monday evening after work. Unfortunately, we were faced with a bit of a family emergency that needed tending to and left at 6pm for a five hour drive to address it and then turned around at 4am for a five hour drive back. Which was fine. It was good. The problem was that while we were gone, the house turned.

It appears I had come up right to the brink of disgust. At the time I’d committed to cleaning the place, I had a 24 hour clock counting down to the moment when milk gone undrunk would turn sour, vegetables uneaten would transform from overly ripe to rotten, and all hell would break loose. Dave and I returned from our overnight voyage and went straight to work without returning to the house. All day, my house was left to fester. By the time I got home, I was almost certain I’d need a priest to exorcise the unholy demon of nasty.

There was a plague of fruit flies in my kitchen, feeding off what appeared to be several thick pockets of stench and grossness.

The most obvious culprit was the trash, which had swelled past its max capacity and as I recalled, was a glorious feast for flies since it had scraps of last week’s corn on the cob, watermelon rind, and other epic bits of festery awful. I tended to it and moved to the next cluster, which was gathered around my banana keeper.

Yes, we have a banana keeper. We eat a lot of bananas. We also apparently don’t bother to throw away the top of the bunch from which the bananas hang sometimes. So there, in the awkward half-pieces that were torn from the dislodged fruit, lay nesting several fruit flies. But that still wasn’t the worst part.flies

I realized the dishes needed to be done so I cleaned out the sink and washed the basin thoroughly and remembered that the last time I did that, I promised myself I would rinse my dishes so I would never again have to stare curdled milk in the face. It was chunky. And smelly. But that, too, was not the worst part.

I continued to move about the kitchen, darting from one pocket of air to another, eyes alert for any resettling of tiny black dots outside of my wine glass trap and incense sacrifice. Suddenly, I spotted it.

There, below the banana keeper, I followed a cloud of little black specks to something I tucked away in the far recesses of my brain several months ago: a brand new bag of potatoes.

I remembered it vaguely, the day Dave proudly  told me he was going to “do some rearranging in the kitchen”. For the most part, his changes were upgrades. I was left with more counter space and more room at the bar and was quite pleased.  In the process, however, the potatoes I usually house right on the counter so I remember to use them (a bag of potatoes for 2 people is just unreasonable) were moved to the bottom rack of the bar beside the cookie jar I’ve never once used.

Cookies don’t need jars. They need bellies.

There, beside my unloved bastard of a pastry basin, was a bag of what …used to be potatoes. It had grown and shrank and oozed and leaked its putrid juices into the cracks and crevices of the bar and into the drawer below it, where my once-peaceful collection of teas dwelt.

Apparently I don’t have tea very often either.

Needless to say, I spent last evening whipping the house back into shape. I’m still trying not be crazy about it though  so my bedroom and the living room and the kitchen are squeaky clean, but the 6 square feet that is the bathroom closet leaves something to be desired.

If I clean everything, I won’t learn anything, now will I?

Seriously though. Those potatoes had eyes. *Shudder*

So here I am, staring down the barrel of 27 years old (Friday, to be specific) and still finding myself in situations where things are so absolutely disgusting in my living situation that I can’t recognize a bag of root crops even when a fly swarm leads me to it.

I won’t post again until I’m an entire year older than I am today so I should take this moment to reflect. But I do a lot of reflecting around here so do me a birthday solid instead and join me in finishing these statements at whatever point you find yourself in life. I’d be tickled to read the answers. Also, there are four and it’s fill in the blank and what kind of strangers are we if you can’t write four words for my birthday?

Probably the kind of stranger who stopped reading once they realized the whole post was about the depth of my filth. So a tip of my hat to both those who bowed out early (mad respect) and those who made it this far (troopers, all).

May you all always find the bag of potatoes while it still holds actual potatoes. 

 

Please leave a comment with whatever answer is appropriate for this time and juncture in your life or for your mood on this particular day. Try to forget about the flies and potatoes. And thanks. Happy Birthday to you too.

Right now I’m trying to be at ease with imperfections

I find myself eating a lot of buttered toast with cinnamon and sugar

I’m kind of hoping to win the lottery for my birthday

I’m feeling pretty good about my mostly clean home

Goalsmack Month

3 Jul

Guys, it’s an important time of year.

I’m not talking about the birth of our great and glorious beer-drinking reality-television-watching nation or even the birth of myself (occurring the week thereafter but unrelated to beer or reality television) or Christmas in July. I’m talking about the halfway point to New Year’s Resolutions.

If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that the beginning of this month marks the halfway point for my Fat Ass 365 Project, wherein I vowed to do something health-related and workout-y for 365 days in a row, culminating in a 10K at the end of the year. Back in spring I participated in a 5K to keep myself on track and accountable and thererin concluded that I would rather die a slow and painful death in private than to be forced to do it publicly by running a long distance race..

Unfortunately, I’ve already committed online, in person, over the phone, and in print- I’ve locked myself in via every communication channel possible. I even have an accountability buddy. That is, a buddy who will come the day of the race to knock on my door and drag me to the starting line. This, of course, is all part of a well-constructed plan by pre-5-K Jackie, who believed she could do whatever she put her mind to and didn’t want to put up with wussy Future Jackie’s sissy whining. She set up safeguards and guarantees to ensure that Future Jackie couldn’t wiggle her way out of anything. Post-5-K Jackie, however, has the good sense to acknowledge how incredibly difficult it was to simply jog three miles straight and isn’t “sissy whining” so much as she’s “certain she will die”. 

But it’s too late. I’m locked in.

Death impending or not, I’m halfway to the reckoning. A little closer, actually, since the 10K is late fall. That means that in two weeks I officially start my training schedule. It’s not official, really. It’s just a piece of paper I tore out of a magazine that promised me lots of things. 

So I’m staring down the barrel of my New Year’s Resolution. So far everything is on track. I’m still working out, I’ve cut down my complaining to occasional, and when I think about running a 10K I still puke a little fear into my mouth. How you doin?homer

Many of you are in the midst of grand undertakings as well. Some of you got started bright and early in the year and some of you just hopped on board recently. You can start a 365 any time, so if this paragraph has you feeling left out, feel free to jump in any day now. If you’re nervous about doing the whole thing, you can always start a 30 Day Challenge. The mention of either is enough to get me all hot and bothered.

While you’re all assessing progress, charting future plans, and/or scolding yourself for negligence, I’ll be paying extra attention to Jillian Michaels  and logging more miles on my bike in the hopes that I can lower my risk of Death-by-10K. Maybe if I kick it up a notch these two weeks before training, I’ll thank myself later. 

Unlikely.

But first I must celebrate the glory that is Old Glory. I plan to do so with two toddlers, a baby, and a kiddie pool. I made cookies. It’s going to be excellent. 

Happy Almost Independence Day/My Birthday/Christmas in July/Goalsmack Month. And don’t forget – it’s never too late to join the crazy. 

The Path to Crotchety is Paved with Typos

26 Jun

 

I’m having a hard time taking part in daily life with other humans without their blatant spelling and grammatical errors making me feel all funny inside.

This has been an issue for me for quite some time. I’m a lover of the English language, a relisher of commas, a juggler of prepositional phrases. I need things to be in their proper order.

For those of you unawares, a prepositional phrase is basically anywhere a squirrel can be in relation to a tree. Up a tree, down a tree, around a tree, in a tree, on a tree – squirrels can be lots of things to a tree and most of those things are the beginning of a well-formed prepositional phrase.

Some of you are going to mull over this for a while and come up with some things that squirrels can do in relation to trees that are not, in fact, prepositional phrases. Some of them might even be a little dirty. But you’re going to have to take that up with Mrs. Bennett, my 7th grade English teacher. Besides, this isn’t really an English lesson. Or about squirrels in trees (or inside trees or beyond the trees…) It’s about how I need to stop being so judgy mcjudgy about people who genuinely can’t get a handle on whether you make something plural by just slapping an apostrophe “s” on the end.

For the record, YOU DON’T. OKAY?! YOU DON’T. THERE ARE RULES. IT’S NOT THAT SIMPLE.

I’m sorry.

I’m not sorry.

I’m trying to be more sorry.

I think it all started around 1994. It was during this year that Ace of Base descended upon America with its hit The Sign from the album Happy Nation. My older brother had just spent his hard-earned George Washingtons on one of his very first cassette tapes (if you’re under 15, please click here) in order to listen to its Swedish pop glory any time he wanted.

After a bit of rewinding, of course.

I was giddy with glee at the idea of holing up for the evening to listen to it and had convinced him to let me. I shoved it in my cassette player (again, here) and began to sing along to each song, using the cassette insert to follow along to the lyrics.

That’s when my stomach began to feel funny. There were several…adjustments…that needed to be made for the lyrics to be accurate. Some of them were, I’m sure, Swedish quirkisms and lyrical liberties. But there were without a doubt several typos and oversights that made me feel as if some terrible injustice had taken place and so I set out to correct them. One by one. In pen.

My brother was so ungrateful.

I tried to show him how I’d improved his life; now he could listen and read and not feel funny in his stomach.

As it turned out, he was totally fine going about life as the owner of the inaccurate, typo-ridden lyrics enclosed with Happy Nation. In fact, since I’d marred his previously pristine cassette tape, he washed his hands of it entirely and bequeathed it to me out of what could have only been disgust for grammatical perfection.

The upside is that over the years, my brother continues the practice of bequeathing items to me in favor of better items for himself. The downside is that I’m staring 27 in the face (July) and I’m pretty sure I’m just as much of an asshat now as I was when I white-knuckled that pen in my hands at the dewy age of 8.

I’m plagued by a need for grammatical correctness. I don’t frequent restaurants that don’t demonstrate proper command of the English language on their signs or promotional materials for fear the menu would send me into a tizzy. I can’t enjoy a stroll through a neighborhood without proofreading sandwich boards. Everywhere is an improperly pluralized noun; lurking behind each corner is a homophone misunderstood.

I’ve begun to work out these anxieties in my work life by applying myself as office proofreader wherever possible. Recently, this has escalated to post-it notes on the mistake-containing materials with personal insults directed at the marketing manager and left on his desk for discovery later in the day. In my personal life, however, I’m finding it more difficult to exact vindication.

I have to do everything I can to stop myself from morphing into a crotchety old hermit, and while I’ve put certain safeguards in place to help prevent this (Lollipop Tuesdays, not working from home, my mother calling me at least every 3 days to make sure I’m not playing World of Warcraft again), I’m going to need to wear myself down on the proofreading mania. People will always make mistakes. Lots and lots of eye-burning mistakes.

I’m thinking of conditioning. I can collect menus, mass mailings, and other printed publications that offend me and go through them like flashcards each morning until I’m so numb to typos and spelling errors that I feel nothing. It’s going to be a long, hard journey but in the end, I’ll be able to eat at a slew of ma and pa restaurants I’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t bear the risk of error-ridden menus.

The key to every goal is a food-related motivator; I just have to find it.

Feel free to start my conditioning by writing error-ridden comments.  I know you’re going to anyway because you’re all so clever.

No, but really please don’t. I can’t bear it. I’m not ready. I’M NOT READY.

Heaven help me. Here I come, crotchety. 

crotchety

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