The Passionate Pursuit of Happiness

July 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm (Personal, Uncategorized)

Long has been the time during which I’ve envied those around me and their passion for something. How some people are capable of being just that passionate to pursue something that makes them completely consumed by happiness to continue doing it over and over again, is beyond my abilities.

I’ve debated why this is for as long as I can remember. Friends have always had hobbies that I am interested in but far to lazy to get beyond trying but once. Colleagues have always shown a drive and desire for their roles; whereas I have made it a career to succeed and excel with as little effort as possible, yet never feeling truly motivated by what it is I am doing.

Not everyone is so passionate or motivated, I am aware of that. However, at 31 and counting, not having really finished anything I’ve begun (including a marriage – though I tried), and not sure what I want to be when I grow up… passion has been on my mind a lot.

There are many things I enjoy doing. Besides the occaisonal long walk on the beach and romantic dinner by candlelight, I enjoy a few short-lived hobbies and the idea that one day, if I play my cards right, I too can be an educator. It’s that kick-in-the-ass ability several of my close friends have that I feel I lack. However, I talk a good show – I have always been a firm believer that if you truly want to do something, you’re the only one who can make it happen.

Self-advice however is the hardest to swallow. I assume that’s why so many people are in therapy. I’ve considered seeing one myself lately but I haven’t been able to make that leap for a couple of reasons: 1) I feel I know myself well enough to see myself through tough times, 2) A good friend is often as good as a $150/hour therapy session, and 3) I want to define more why I feel I would need to see a therapist.

Reason #3 is my latest mental debate. I have begun to recognize that the majority of why I feel unhappy or unmotivated from time to time is simply because I am not doing something that makes me happy or motivated! That simple realization – though seemingly obvious and often felt – is only just now really sinking in. It’s one thing to hear… another to listen. Now, I feel if I’m going to seek guidance from a therapist, it’s going to be one who specializes in career development.

As for hobbies, I have had several and enjoyed them each to a good degree. Crocheting, sewing, painting, jewelry making, baking, etc. Each has been something I wish to pursue further yet I find myself too lazy – too unmotivated – to take the hobby box out of the closet, open it up, make a space on the table, pull everything out… blah blah blah. Cuz then – then! – I’ll have to actually clean it all up later! Oh, and let’s not forget if I am unable to be productive to the degree I envision myself doing. I mean, if it’s not perfect at the end – why even bother?

Though I have always valued my ability to think through – at least fairly well – the course of a project and its possible risks, I am beginning to believe that it’s consuming me. It is a very uptight and lazy way to live. If I constantly put the end before the beginning, how do I expect to truly get anywhere? It’s the fear of the unknown. Of failure. Why bother to do something if I can’t do it the way I envision and then will have to deal with the mess of later?

Driving home from my workout yesterday, I had a bit of an epiphany regarding this situation. It occurred to me that I need to do two things to be a happier person:

  • Let something consume me at least once in my life.
  • Completely fall head over heels in love with something.

If I achieve at these two goals I believe I will have experienced that same passion and motivation – desire if you will – that I witness in those with whom I am close and envy. Letting myself just enjoy the moment… letting myself release my inner tensions. To stop hiding the fear of failure… that I what I believe will make me happy. At least until the next stage of my life.

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Euphemisms in the Media

May 10, 2006 at 3:53 pm (Culture)

Every weekday at 6:00pm, 88.1 KNTU runs a simulcast of the local WFAA news television broadcast. Yesterday as I neared the gym I caught a story that made me flush with anger, not to mention giggle insanely whilst ranting to myself at the situation.

It was this story – a quick nod to a local school board political hopeful who had in his adult past shoplifted over $500 of lingerie from a Neiman Marcus. The phrases that caught my attention were "poor judgment" and "made a mistake". In the Dallas Morning News article they quote the man as having said something like he was going through a time of tough challenges and that money was tight. He's running for the Dallas School Board and plans to continue his bid even with the situation from his past coming to light.

First, let me say all the more to the man for continuing with his bid for election to the school board. While I would never vote for such a person – it's not like he was a teenager when he committed the crime – I think it is an important step at criminals (minor or major) overcoming their past and making something of themselves, no matter what the fight.

The issue I have is the use of euphemisms to 'soften' the blow of the crime. Poor judgment? Mistake? If he weren't a politician I don't imagine those are the words we'd read in the paper. I don't understand what the poor judgment was – he was 35 years old; again, it's not like he was a teenager hanging with the wrong crowd. Mistake? I'm sorry, but it's not like he stole from a Wal-Mart; there was diliberation on that decision. I just don't buy it. And, even though I think it's his right – and I do applaud his efforts – to try to gain local political office, I hope I'm not the only one who puts some thought into the situation.

Some will say I'm being too hard on him, that at least he's fessing up to the crime. And to those people I would say… sure, he's fessed up. But he's making it sound like it could happen to anyone with 'poor judgment'. Now, do you want someone, who at 35 years of age had enough poor judgment to steal high-end bras and panties on your child's school board? Me, personally (even without kids)… I'm not so certain.

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How my dog contributed to today’s immigrant boycott

May 2, 2006 at 12:18 am (Culture, The Dogs)

For your information, I do not support the whole illegal immigrant issue. That is, that our country would come to a grinding halt if we were able to successfully enforce our immigration laws, thus sending home hundreds of thousands (millions?) of illegal residents in the USA.

However, this is about my dog. And, in the interest of serving a good friend of mine who likes poop stories, I thought I would share something I thought of today that at least *I* found humurous.

For a long time, I've guessed that my dog, Peanut (the smaller of two), is part chihuahua. He was described to me three years ago as a "Jack Russell Terrier / Mix," but it's been quite clear by his shimmy, shrill high-pitched yap, and bone dome of a head that he really is more chihuahua than JRT.

Today I made that assumption even more concrete as I walked him, watching his butt for that special moment dogs have when they must succomb to natures's forces and let out a number 2. See, I walk my dogs twice a day for that purpose alone – and they regularly donate, twice a day, to the fertilization of the apartment complex's weed strewn lawn.

However, this morning Peanut wouldn't let it go. I could see his little butt clenching and relaxing – sure signs that he is ready to. A few times he got close to a full squat but decided to give up. After 20 minutes, I decided to give up myself and go go to work.

Then again this evening the same thing occurred. Once, even, he DID squat and go to start but then decided against it! The willpower this mexican has! We walked the entire complex. We were out there for 30 minutes! My older dog who had already done his duty to nature tried several times to lie down and take a nap. All I could think was, "I'll be dammed if the chihuahua in him is doing this to spite me, the illegal immigrant oppressor!"

Finally, just as I was rounding the corner to return home, I checked my watch – 6:00pm… Peanut gave in! He stopped dead and went, right there on the lawn, right after closing time. It was as if he was punching back into his normal daily routine after a long day of slacking off of his normal lawn job.

Funny, though – life went on.

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Why I hate crowds (and Central Market)

May 1, 2006 at 1:40 am (Culture)

Let me start by saying that I'm not afraid of crowds. There is no fear involved. The issue is that I despise them. They are full of people who care nothing about their surroundings. They stop and linger and group into smaller crowds that do the same, all the while blocking the path for those of us who actually want to achieve pedal progression.

This isn't a recent epiphany. In fact, it's been a developing hatred over the years. However, last weekend I treated myself to a double-dose of crowds: one Saturday and another on Sunday.

On Saturday I drove out to Fort Worth to peruse the wares offered at the Main Street Fort Worth Arts Festival. As this is one of the top Arts festivals in the nation, I figured braving the crowds was worth it. And, though I managed to spend roughly $200 on some awesome handmade items [this necklace, a vase similar to this one, and another vase by the same artist] it took a lot of perseverance to wend and weave my way through the people eating their turkey legs and kettle corn, 'steering' their strollers (loosely termed), and stopping dead in their tracks for no apparent reason what-so-ever. Note that I didn't say it took patience. No, there was little to no patience involved. In fact it took all I had to not take out a few kids under 5 feet of height as they clipped my new flip-flops and stopped dead in front of me to do – again – nothing.

Sunday I decided to make my annual pilgrimage to the local Central Market. Note that I said annual. Somehow, though I find myself leaving the store with a headache, I get the urge to return again – but only about once a year.

As I drove away that Sunday I decided to think a bit more deeply about why I hate Central Market. Ultimately I decided that the concept doesn’t succeed – in suburbia – the way I imagine it should. I like the concept that it’s more like shopping in an urban market where you can see the fishmonger tossing the tuna while you hand-pick overpriced produce. However, suburbia and this experience simply cannot coexist. Why? Crowds. Crowds of people such as the following:

  • People with 5 young children in tow, each with their own cart
  • After church goers on Sundays
  • Foodie trend followers
  • Coffee-klatschers

The issue: In suburbia grocery shopping is a family event, especially on Sundays after church as people are trying to follow Emeril's latest trendy recipe as they catch up on their gossip over coffee. Shove all of this into a trendy over-sized maze of a food market and you have a crowd of people who stop dead in their tracks to do apparently – all together now – nothing.

Toss into the mixture the layout of the store and you have these crowds mingling in a never-ending ess-curve of a maze. Simply entering the store is a challenge in and of itself because it’s where the produce section starts and everyone decides to park their cute little double-decker carts at the first item stand.

In a nutshell, last weekend tried my patience with crowds. Two days in a row I subjected myself to environments that aggravate me to the point of headaches. Undoubtedly these won’t be the last times I find myself willingly participating in similar situations simply because the world is only getting more crowded and the things I want to see are surrounded by crowds. If only there was a way to discreetly carry an air horn so I could plow an open path ahead of me. That’s all I want, really – people to just get the hell outta my way so I can enjoy myself – without a headache.

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The Mutts

April 22, 2006 at 2:40 am (The Dogs)

What good is having two adorable lovable furry creatures as housemates if I’m not going to show them off? I mean, if I had a hottie of a studmuffin as a roommate I’d probably show him off, right?

So here are my babes, Max (the sleeping babe) and Peanut (the freaked out looking babe).

max peanut

I got Max with my [then] live-in boyfriend (now ex) back in 1998 when we so much desired a Jack Russell Terrier (JRT). You know, like Eddie on Frasier. Max won me over at the North Texas Humane Society when I saw that he was calm and had one ear that wouldn’t fold over. The ear is still stuck up but the calm factor was apparently a facade. (We had him on doggie-prozac for a while.) Max had been named “Sinatra” by the Humane Society because they found him wandering the streets the day Frank Sinatra died. Though it was kind of a cool name we weren’t huge fans of the man so it felt weird. I told my husband, “You name him.” And, Max it was. The most popular dog name in the world – or nearly.

Peanut, was sort of like a birthday gift about two years ago (?). I forget. One morning my mom and dad came up our direction to take us out to breakfast for my birthday. The restuarant happened to be in the same strip area as a PetSmart where the local Humane Society was having an adoption day. We saw this cute itty bitty little JRT named Norman or something. We hemmed and hawed and put our name down in case he wasn’t taken later. By the time we decided to go for it, he had been adopted. However, there was another JRT mix that was currently under the care of a foster mom. We decided to take him – Peanut – for a couple weeks… you know, the “trial period.” I think though we were both unsure of him we knew that once in our house he’d remain. And, he did. The Humane Society named him Peanut apparently due to the shape of his head. It stuck.

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Getting to know you

April 20, 2006 at 1:46 am (Personal)

Lately my life has been one huge example of Mark Twain's famous comment, "Familiarity breeds contempt."

Last summer it was my marriage that suffered those damming words. My then husband decided he just didn't want to be with me any longer. Though I had been expecting this for some years I still held out hope that we could see things through. However, it's as though the longer he was with me the less happy he was with me.

About a month ago a close friend of mine called me crying hysterically. She was driving and said she needed a friend at the moment; apparently she and her husband had just hit the skids themselves. I got her over to my apartment and let her sit and talk for a few minutes. I said all the wrong things, of course, but it worked out well because I was so focused on the big D that she denied it was going that far. They're going to do their best to work it out, and I hope they do – they're really great people – but if she's just not into it (she's like where my ex was in our relationship) then it's hard to make it desirable. Her hubby just isn't where she would like him to be and it's frustrating her to no end. Again, it's as though the longer she's gotten to know him, the less she wants to be around him.

Just yesterday my mother called me to give me an update of my older brother's situation. He's divorced twice but has been married for the last 10 years. He has two children with his current wife and a teenage son with his first wife who lives several states away. He and his wife have had some rough moments over the years – mostly financial – and within the last few weeks the ugliest has come to a head. Neither one of them is good at managing a budget; neither one of them is good at telling the other about issues. My brother hides bills from his wife; my sister-in-law demands she manages the budget but then gets irritated and drops it when she can't figure it out. He's got ADD and a gaming addiction. She likes to go out and play Sex in the City with her girlfriends, leaving him at home with the kiddos. It's just not a great situation. Yesterday was the last straw… sis-in-law demanded a divorce and threatened to take the kids. In the few times I've seen them together since they married I've rarely seen anything but demeaning behavior from her towards him (calling him stupid, etc.) while he dotes upon her – like he has with every girlfriend he's had in his life (he's truly a romantic). Why does sis-in-law hate him so?

So I wonder… how does any couple last through the decades? What makes two people stay familiar yet not grow contemptuous towards one another?

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Old Fart, at Only 31

April 17, 2006 at 4:09 am (Personal)

It's funny how things occur to you in an order that end up screwing you in the end. You know, like when something falls into your lap and all you can think of are the good reasons to accept it, ignoring all the glaringly obvious bad reasons to not? Case in point…

My apartment.

Of the six apartments I've rented the current one is the only one that was available with a pool view. For some reason, I've always thought, "Hey, it would be awesome to have a pool view." Actually, not for just some reason – there are a few: 1) Be closer to the pool so I might actually USE it; 2) Have a view of something other than a parking lot; 3) Enjoy a bit of people watching from the comfort of my own patio.

When the apartment came available – two bedroom, 2nd story, attached garage, POOL VIEW – it's like I was in heaven. How could I – the queen of never getting to be part of the IN crowd – possibly be awarded an apartment with everything I wanted – including a POOL VIEW?

Six months into my lease – if you do the math you'll note my move-in date around early FALL – I've realized that the gods were not in fact awarding me anything. Instead, it was the devil of societal stereotypes infringing on my weakness for all things good. "Think good thoughts – all the FUN you'll have with that pool. Laying out… a quick sit in the hot tub… gardens of lush unkempt greenery to stare at… yeaaah, that's the stuff, aint it?"

F that.

What's wrong with a pool view? By asking that question, you've either a) never lived in an apartment with a pool view, or b) are the type of person that I'm about to complain about.

With a pool view on a warm spring or summer evening you quickly learn whether you give a shit about sleeping. See, the types of buildings apartments are – at least in North Texas – are not exactly the variety that absorb sound. No, they are built of some wonderful material that actually CONDUCTS sound right into the homes of those who work normal hours. Like, say, ME.

It's not fun at 2 a.m. on a Thursday morning to be awoken by giggling coeds and their volleyballs. No, not fun. NOT FUN AT ALL. It's not fun to feel intimidated by said partygoers and have to call the "Courtesy Officer" – TWICE – to get them kicked out.

I ask, why? Why can't I think of all the BAD things that balance out the GOOD when they come around? Why must I be sucked into a utopian image of what greatness may come of my arrival into the cool crowd? Why must I be made to feel, at only 31 that I am an old fart who just can't let it go? 

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Guilty Pleasure: #1

April 14, 2006 at 2:36 am (Guilty Pleasures)

Where was the WB show, Supernatural when I was eighteen? Oh, that's right, it was called The X-Files. Only that didn't have two hot college-age-ish studmuffins. And they don't spend half the show arguing whether something exists. Instead they just exude rugged manliness as they kick ghosts' asses.

Back to the hotties… Jensen Ackles plays the older of two brothers, Dean Winchester. For a couple reasons I find him oh-so-delectably-delicious: 1) He's older, so I have a better chance with him, 2) He's from Dallas, so I have a better chance with him, and 3) He's just plain my type of hotness.

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The way to get results…

April 13, 2006 at 1:59 am (Out of Context)

The other day I was at a BBQ at a friend's house, one of only two in attendance that didn't go to high-school or college together. The grill had been fired up and the host had offered it up to anyone who wanted to grill their own items.

Best Buddy X decided to take on grilling the Portabello mushroom caps for those who were vegetarians; however, he was a carnivore and had never grilled these before. "I've never cooked these before," he shouted to the slightly inebriated group, "what do I do?"

Because I have a sick need to prove I have some form of knowledge stored in my gray matter, I answered, "They're supposed to cook up just like hamburgers. Throw them on and let 'em cook." I followed up that assured comment with, "However, I've only READ that – I've never DONE it. Don't take my word for it."

Best Buddy X started laying the caps on the grill when I realized that perhaps there's a test case to be made. I shouted, "Maybe just cook one for now to see if it works before you do them all?" To which I received the following response:

"To get results, you need to repeat the experiment. I'm repeating the experiment… just all at once."

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Latest Clever (?) Quotes

April 13, 2006 at 1:40 am (Out of Context)

"The way I figure it is, we've put so much into it and come so far… just give up."

"I wish I could have accidents like that happen without me having to think about them." 

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