Excising the Tumor

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had a column advising how to break up with a friend, and the Jezebel editors turned it out to their members who told a great many stories about friend breakups they’d been through and were considering in the future.

For the past few days, I have been constantly thinking of this article, and mulling over the stories of others who’ve been in friend breakups, as well as my own.  My heart poured out to the women who’d been through some ugly friendships; but I spent a good portion mourning the deaths of my own.

I don’t even break up with friends so much as I’ve let them fizzle out:  I have balked the hard work it takes to maintain a friendship.  It has never been fair of me to ask or to expect K and The Boy to bear the burdens of all of my interpersonal needs.  I have been a bad friend to everyone involved, and I miss the friendships that I have let wither.

In college, I was friends with a woman who was particularly damaged and angry with the way her friendships had turned out, and said (something like) these friendships don’t matter: you’re together for four years, and then you all move away.  Foolishly, I clung to this mantra as solace during a time when I was too unhappy with who I was to be a good friend to anyone. I let that negative-thinking cancer fester in me for far too long, and now my web of friends is tenuously connected, and has some large holes in it.

It must be part of this great Saturn Return I’m going through, but I’m internalizing how wrong this woman’s thought-process was.  More still, shame on me for allowing that negative thinking to take root in me like a tumor!

How stupid have I been to eschew my friendships?  When making a mental audit of my life and realizing that I have few things going how I’d planned, there should be meaning, fulfillment, and reward  in my friendships.  Now, more than ever, I need to foster a rich and fulfilling network of friends.

Atonements need to be made for my disappearing act in the last 4 years.  I will need to work, work, work to rebuild my friendships.  I am going to have to put a lot of sweat equity into breathing life back into these loose relationships if I want to keep them and make them grow.

There is a beautiful thing about setting it all right: that I can be a better person and start fresh.  All it takes is a small gesture: a sent birthday card, a quick email, a Facebook poke.  I hope that old friends will welcome me back, but that if some of my friendships are too far gone to revive, that I can accept that with dignity and grace.

But I have to start somewhere, and what better time to start than now?

Where’s Xzibit When I Need Him? /Insert Meme Here

In addition to purging my dependence on the TV (which backslid a little when I had nothing to do but listen to the TV when I had LASIK), I also made a concerted effort to whittle down my general media intake.

The first thing I did was ditch the Zany Morning Radio Show local to Cleveland (good riddance), and started listening mostly to podcasts (including Radio Free Burrito care of Wil Wheaton, WTFPod by comedian Marc Maron, and a lot of NPR and NPR-affiliate podcasts).

Podcasts-mostly has expanded to now audiobooks-mostly, given that I don’t have a lot of free time to read, and I spend plenty of useable time in the car to-and-from work, Berea, and school to listen to them.

My car, however, was manufactured in 2003, before the personal mp3 player/cell phone/what-have-you became the ubiquitous device for delivering media and car radios came with an audio jack standard.  I had a tape deck, and used that wonderful device you remember from the 90s when hooking up your compact CD player into your car – the casette adapter.

With my little cassette adapter that could, life was pretty good: the sound quality was a lot better than the transmitter (the internal antenna in my car eats it), and I wasn’t breaking any laws by driving with headphone on (yes, Virginia, it is against the law to drive with headphones on).

Everything was great, that is, until my tape deck befell the ill that happened with every tape deck in cars that was used with frequency: it ate and refused to read my cassette adapter.  E tu, Hyndai?

To me, going without the ability to play my Zune through the radio of my car is just not an option.  I can go without pedicures, I can eschew new shoes for taking care of the ones I have now, I can avoid going out to eat for lunch, but I cannot go without a radio in my car.

In the grand scheme of things, I had been kicking around the idea of buying a new radio for the car, but I always figured I could make do until I bought a new car.  Besides the expense, the other issue I balked on was that I’m pretty conservative (well, my car is pretty conservative), and all of the after-market radios are just a little bit flashy.  When I priced some out at the company that’s doing the install, they did have one with pink lights (but that’s a little too much pink, even for me).

In the end, I settled for one by Pioneer, which is a company I used in the past to install a CD player in my old car, and I’m happy with the brand.  It’s being installed on Wednesday.

And to be honest, despite my initial horror at having to replace my car radio, I’m pretty excited for my new toy.

March 13, 2010

On Wednesday of this week, I went in and had Lasik surgery.

The decision came after 10 years of glasses originally intended to facilitate far-distance vision, and slowly integrated the correction of my astigmatism.  For 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for nearly ten years, I was a glasses-wearer.

There were some people who had never seen me without glasses.

I couldn’t wear contacts without a lot of irritation because of astigmatism and an eye infection in 2006.  I also wasn’t satisfied with transitions lenses, and I didn’t like the idea that I could be jetskiing with prescription lenses on and lose them.  The more I thought about it, the better Lasik looked.  Even with the costs involved, the expense would be a one-time expense with a lifetime guarantee.  The only thing scary about Lasik was the price.

Now here I am, a few days removed from the surgery, putting drops in my eyes on a rigorous schedule to reduce inflammation, reduce the risk of infection, and to maintain lubrication.  I’m forbidden from wearing eye makeup for the next few days, and discouraged from any strenuous physical activity that will cause me to squint and put strain in the incision in my corneas.

I am now free of the necessity of glasses – I can see perfectly clearly without my glasses.

To be honest, I feel a little naked.

The funny thing is, I never saw myself as a person who wore glasses – not that I have a problem with people who wear glasses (more power to Tina Fey, and Rachel Maddow, whose glasses are a part of their signature looks), but it wasn’t part of my self-image.

In my smoking cessation class, we were counseled that every time we give something up, every time we stop doing something, we feel a sense of loss.  I still have my glasses sitting on my nightstand, even though I will never wear them again.

I think that it will take a little time to admit that a part of me (that I didn’t realize I was, even) is gone.  That change can be a wonderful advantage towards new opportunities, but is a change all the same.

March 7, 2010

On Saturday, I finished my first accelerated course for CSU.  If I hadn’t signed up for the second half of the accelerated semester, I would never have taken an accelerated course again.

Taking Managerial Accounting in 10 weeks (40 hours total) was a perfect storm of disaster.  I would have liked taking Managerial Accounting if it had been spread across the traditional amount of time; and I would have appreciated the accelerated course if it hadn’t been Managerial Accounting.

I took the final exam at work, online.  I’m happy to be done: I thought I would have more time because the course was on the weekend, but the acceleration forced me to have less time during the week.

And of course, while I was busy losing my marbles over finishing the semester, I scheduled Lasik surgery during the week off from school.  Like all other medical procedures I’ve had, I’ve just had to schedule without thought and not give myself any time to freak out about it.

My new eyeballs will be lasered in on Wednesday.

The Ratio of People to Cake…

Well, I’m studying my buns off for my Managerial Accounting final tomorrow (which I will be taking in my office because it’s the quietest place I can find on a Saturday morning at 8 am).  So, in lieu of something ruminating over the theories of time management and whether or not to attend my alma mater’s luncheon, I give you the Friday 5:

Friday 5 for March 5: Staples

  1. Of all the hundreds of sizes and shapes bread seems to come in, what is your favorite?
    I have two great loves currently: focaccia and ciabatta.  Great for paninis, and focaccia is ridiculously easy to make.
  2. What’s your favorite thing to eat with rice?
    In other words, “what’s the only thing you eat with rice?” which is sushi.  Mmmm, pass the tuna, please.
  3. What are your feelings about milk?
    I feel that milk has a proper place, but were are on cordial terms, simply, nothing more.
  4. What was wrapped in the tortilla you most recently ate?
    A chimichanga…but that what a while ago.  God, since I’ve been getting into all this “clean living” I sure do miss a fried burrito.
  5. How many staplers are there in your house and where are they?
    Who counts staplers?  Instead, I will tell you about my favorite stapler.  It is my red Swingline stapler, a la Milton, which my BIL got for me for Christmas when I moved into my new office.

Bonus points if you know from where the title of my post comes.