Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Overcoming Fears, or, Smashing into an Orange Construction Barrel

I have always had a paralyzing fear of those annoying orange barrels on the freeway. They are large, solid, and often placed very haphazardly. 

While I have always had an issue with anything that "confines" me in any way (small spaces, tunnels, bridges, etc.), these barrels have scared the living daylights out of me ever since I was a junior in high school. I was a passenger in someone's car (let's call her Sally) and while we drove through those damn orange barrels on the way to MSU for yearbook camp (shut up, Jeremy) she told me a horrific story about her dad hitting one and it flying in through the windshield. Not that I am trying to blame others for my phobias, but that image has stayed with me ever since.

Unfortunately, my title is not a clever metaphor. While driving home from work today, an orange barrel hit the passenger side of my car. (The details are not important. I mean, can one ever REALLY determine WHO is at fault in situations like these? I think not.) It smashed off my side mirror, skimmed the door, and stopped my heart. My alignment was probably a little off already, but after that I wobbled all the way home.

Despite all the badness, the greatest thing happened after that: I sailed past all the rest of those barrels -- even the ones that were randomly placed in the exact CENTER of the lane -- without any anxiety whatsoever. As corny as it sounds, I Faced My Fear. And I won. I stared it down and said You can't hurt me, you stupid barrel, and you will NOT smash through my windshield and destroy my lovely face.  Got it?

However, there is NO WAY that I am going to stare down my fears of falling from great heights, driving off bridges, snakes, spiders, or centipedes any time soon.  Baby steps, people.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Strange Recurring Dreams: A Detailed List

I have heard people say that listening to other people talk about their dreams is boring. Hogwash. Just read this crazy list, and you will agree that that is total bunk.
  1. My most hated nightmare involves Jeremy leaving me. Obviously, this is my worst nightmare. (The feminist in my brain is screaming ACK! Don't admit that to the Interwebs!!!, but it is the truth. Isn't that the truth when you find the love of your life?) So, anyway, this dream has been taking various incarnations, but I have been having this dream for years. Before we were married, he had left me and I was telling friends and lamenting "The save-the-dates are already out!! This is so embarrassing!!" and in one dream my mom actually told me it was totally possible to find a new man, get him to propose, and get married on the same date because most people wouldn't remember what the guy in the picture looked like anyway! HA! Before the wedding, I assumed it was stress from planning the wedding that made me have these dreams, but I still have them. One thing that is always the same is that he has left and I cannot contact him. I search and search and call and call, but he won't talk to me. The other night I actually had a dream that Jeremy tried to kill me by pushing me out of a window after I confronted him for leaving me. And last night I remembered that I had threatened to smash the red electric guitar I bought him if he ever left me, and I was in search of it to smash to bits when I woke up. So, the question is, if I am secure in my marriage, why do I have this dream all the time?
  2. My teeth crumbling and falling out of my head or falling out one by one. Gross. I am pretty sure this has to do with me feeling out of control in some way, because in the dream I am devastated that I can't do anything about my teeth and that they are falling out even though I have always taken good care of them. Does anyone else have this teeth dream?
  3. This might sound creepy, but I have a lot of dreams that involved being chased by horrifically brutal killers. Jeremy blames all the true crime and forensic shows that I am addicted to. The upside is, they are long, detailed, and realistic, so if I ever wanted to become a screenplay writer for slasher flicks, I would just have to wake up and write down my dreams.
  4. School dreams. Ah, the ever-popular school dreams. I have a lot, and they take on a great deal of variation. 4. (a) The first school nightmare I ever had was that I was walking down the halls of St. Eds and I hadn't realized I was only wearing a sweatshirt until my friend Amanda pointed it out to me. 4. (b) Then I started having dreams where I couldn't open my locker and/or did not have my schedule and didn't know which class to go to. 4. (c) Now I am having COLLEGE dreams where I realize, at the end of the semester, that there was a class I signed up for and needed to graduate that I had not attended even ONCE. 4. (d) And, possibly the worst: that I am 27, with a Bachelor's and a Master's and Paul F. calls me up and tells me I didn't successfully complete a high school class and I need to come back full-time to make up for it! Horrors!! Does anyone else have a lot of school dreams?
  5. Being stuck in an elevator. I am guessing that this also has something to do with feeling that I have no control over a situation. Any other interpretations?
  6. Neglecting animals. I swear, I have never neglected an animal in real life, but I have dreams all the time that I walk into my room and realize that there are huge tanks of fish or hamsters that I have not fed in days or weeks. I wake up feeling like a miserable person and try to figure out what I am forgetting to do in real life to make me dream that.
At the risk of getting a mean e-mail from my mom to STOP TALKING ABOUT MY DREAMS BECAUSE THEY ARE BORING, I will leave the list at six. I would love comments, feedback, etc. -- but all the snarky ones will promptly be deleted (mom).

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bravo, Mr. Dimick

Today is Jeremy's offical LAST DAY of the summer quarter! We are celebrating with pizza and beer, just like the Rockafellers do it.

Jeremy has been working hard all summer with his two independant study classes (which, in grad school, is code for "we will give you a list of 75 books to read, you write an original and insightful 50-page paper about them." Or something like that).

And now, since he did those two summer classes, he only needs to finish up TWO classes in the fall and he will be done. D-U-N-done! Yay for Jeremy!

Congratulations, well wishes, and cash can be sent care of Veronica Marcetti Dimick. :)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

An Open Letter to My Confused Brain

Dear self,

Hi. How are you? Me, I am not so fine. Here is what I did NOT like about my interaction with you over the last few days:
  1. Your continued refusal to let me sleep at night
  2. Specifically, the fact that over the past two weeks I have been averaging a 4:00 AM bedtime even though I have to get up and go to work a few hours later
  3. The fact that you TEASED me mercilessly the other night by letting me drift off into slumber at 1:30 AM and wake up the next morning at 9:00 AM feeling refreshed. It sounds nice, but not when you follow it with:
  4. Not letting me fall asleep until NINE-FREAKING-AM the following day
I really think we could have a better relationship if you just give me a little slack. I have been giving you slack on the weight thing by admitting that someone of my stature will never get back down to 120 pounds, so can't you just give me this sleep thing? Pretty please?

Just promise to think it over, okay?


Monday, August 3, 2009

Insomnia Rant 2.0

GUH! Last night I only slept about two hours, not counting the last 45 minutes that were interrupted every few minutes by a cat crying in my ear and/or licking my face and a dog's tail wagging so hard and fast that it THUMPS THUMPS THUMPS the walls on either side of the bed as she runs back and forth, hoping one of us will pay attention to her. Sigh.

I was feeling good about myself too, and maybe that was the problem. Once I finally buckled down and started grading those papers (and no, I do not wish to discuss what time I actually accomplished this feat of strength), I started getting tired very rapidly. By 1:30 AM, I was thinking that when I crawled into bed, I would fall asleep in no time.

However, my brain merely cackled and said au contraire, mon ami. I alternated between laying in the dark with my eyes closed, watching TV, listening (with my eyes closed) to the soothing voice of Gene Galusha, the narrator of The New Detectives: Cases in Forensic Science (wonderful show! And the narrator's voice is like the soothing waves of the ocean. Sigh ...), and getting so thirsty that I needed to go downstairs to refill my glass of water (Seriously! What am I, five?!?).

And yes, I have tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. A few months ago I went off caffeine for a while ... I can't remember how long. I think I blocked the trauma from my memory. Exercise; herbs (only the legal type, I swear!); positive self-talk (I know); and even thinking about puppies, ponies, and rainbows (like my mom used to tell me to do when I was little and couldn't sleep). All to no avail.

I am not actually posting this to get advice. I just want to complain. So, thank you kindly Internet, for letting me blow off a little steam. Now I will go prop myself up and try to look awake while I teach all night! :)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Procrastination, Thy Name is Veronica

Well, gentle readers, I should currently be grading a stack of papers. 

That's me.  And the stack of papers.

I will be returning 20 of these to students on Monday and 20 more to students on Tuesday, and Monday I work ALL FREAKIN' DAY, and generally have not one spare minute to grade papers last minute.

Here is what I have done so far today instead of grading those god-forsaken papers:

  • Slept in. I woke up when I had planned to, and then my first thought was THOSE PAPERS! NO!!! and immediately went back to sleep. (However, my brain punished me for this -- after I went back to sleep I had a dream that Jeremy left me, and then when I confronted him, he tried to kill me by pushing me out a window!! [And when I told him about this, he LAUGHED. LAUGHED!! I explained to him that trying to kill me was NOT FUNNY and he said he laughed because it was so ridiculous. Harumph.] Duly noted, brain.)
  • Tooled around on Facebook. I do not want to receive any comments about this, people who know me.
  • Watched two episodes of Millionare Matchmaker. New episodes, people!
  • Dumped four flower pots full of dirt and seeds that never sprouted into the garbage. And they were going to be so pretty!! (Sweetpeas and candytufts!) I had already tried to grow some in big pots out in the front yard, and they never sprouted, so I planted some inside in smaller pots, but it seems that if there has not even been a sprout after three months, then they are not going to grow. :( [Editor's note: I did NOT, in fact, dump the entire pot and all the dirt contained within into the trash. I simply scooped out the top layer and dud seeds and put the remaining dirt and pots in the garage. I may not be a Master Gardener, but I am not wasteful. Sorry for not being more specific mom and Jeremy.]
  • Threw away my orchid. I had recently been told by many friends (who shall remain nameless) that "Oh, orchids aren't REALLY that hard to take care of!" I followed all their advice to a T, and it is now dead. Dead, dead, dead. Wah!
  • Weeded all my plants outside that are actually growing. (Blech! I hate weeding!) Seriously, I got some things to grow! And I have three tomato plants that are actually THRIVING (thanks for the donation mom!)
  • Cleaned my kitchen. Not that is takes very long to clean a one-foot by one-foot kitchen. Seriously, I get claustrophobic in there!
  • Did dishes. Usually Jeremy's Job, but I was feeling charitable.
  • Did two loads of laundry. Now there are only two tiny piles in the basement! Yay!!
  • Swiffered my entire first floor hardwood floors. I do this every day because, as it turns out, my animals shed more than any other animals on the planet. I am not exaggerating. When I first adopted MoJo, I swear he did not shed for the first six months, and then it was like an avalanche, and it has never ceased. THEN, the same thing happened with Cleo. Jeremy and I think it might be some sort of strategy that shelter animals learn, like they are plotting Hey, if we act like we don't do messy things like shed, then they might think we are low-maintenance, and then we are secured places in this luxurious mansion with owners who pamper us silly. Because, I am sure there are people who adopt animals, decide they are too much work, and take them BACK (bastards) or give them away (heartless jerks), not that Jeremy and I would. There is no way I would send my animals back to "Puppy and Kitty Prison," as Jeremy calls it. I would sell every one of my possessions before I gave up my animals.
  • Vacuumed my entire carpeted second floor. Same story as the hardwood floors. The carpet is very light and my animals are both big, black shedders, so I have to do it every other day, tops.
  • Vacuumed the stairs. I cannot even use my regular vacuum for this; I have to use the tiny little cordless vacuum my oldest sister got me for a wedding present (Thanks Lise!!) because the stairs are so shallow (is that the word to describe it??) that my big monster feet do not fit on them at all.
  • Dusted and polished all of my wood furniture. Mmmm. I LOVE the smell of the Swiffer furniture polish!!
  • Drank about four cups of coffee
  • Played on "Farm Town" for entirely too long. My mom has been pestering me to be her neighbor on Farm Town for, roughly, ten years now, and I always told her no way. For some reason, I caved last night. She told me I wouldn't have to do anything, just allow the application and then she would move up another level. Unfortunately, if I start something, I have to be the BEST at it. IMMEDIATELY. So, I have gone from level one to level six in a few hours, and I don't want to stop. ACK!
  • And now (duh), I am blogging about not doing what I am supposed to be doing.
What I did NOT do yet today:
  • Even bring my pile of papers in from the "three season room." (this is what they call a porch that they have walled in but not insulated. It is more like a two-month room.)
Well, I think I am going to go walk the dog. Then, maybe ... just maybe ... I will pick up those papers to read.
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