Sunday, January 25, 2009

free car wash

I moved my car onto the street in anticipation of rainstorms and a free car wash. I did not anticipate that this might cause birds to deposit poop on the front windshield of my car.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

how the rain sounds

The sound of rain falling on the roof at night is wonderful. It is improved if I have a hot cup of tea or am tucked into blankets. It is degraded by the sound of traffic that whizzes by. I remember falling in love in an unusually rainy winter in L.A., and the sound becomes magic.

Monday, January 19, 2009

rats are kid pets

I have been thinking about how I have this perception of rats as being kid pets. You don't think of grown people as having pet rats, really, unless they are the sort of person with characteristics that make them seem not quite fully adult. Before we ended up having rats ourselves, the person I had most recently encountered having rats fit this stereotype. This guy with rats had a dark room with shelves full of board games and card games, and his house had fantasy art (like, D&D style) on the walls.

I think the thing about pet rats is this: they are a non-committal sort of pet. A convenience pet. A trainer pet. A pet that is not a burden, because rats don't live very long. You are making a 2 or 3 year commitment when you get a pet rat. A cat or a dog will probably be around for 10, maybe 15 years. I know that this is at least one reason we got rats -- because one member of this two-person household said that he did not want to rush into making a decision that would last 10 or 15 years.

Lately I have been thinking a lot about this idea of investing in things (in a non-monetary context) -- primarily relationships, but also things like work and leisure activities. I have also been considering the notion of "You get what you pay for." I think the principle applies to rats as pets. I think that the short-term commitment / minimal investment involved probably reaps proportional rewards. Rats don't ask for much, but they probably don't give a lot back either. Although I like our rats and appreciate that they display sociability and intelligence, I don't think the emotional rewards and relationship is comparable to long-haul pets. Of course, even if they were, I'm not even sure I would want to become so deeply attached to something I know is only going to live for 2 years.

Friday, January 16, 2009

belated resolutions

Two weeks into the new year, and I am finally getting around to coming up with some new year's resolutions. Better late than never, right? Which brings me to the first one...

1) I will do important tasks before the last minute (or beyond). Mostly, this goal has to do with creating self-imposed deadlines for those tasks that are not urgent but are important. It is particularly applicable to tasks which I perceive to be onerous. In order to ensure that tasks are done in a timely manner, I will create checklists with small, specific actions that should be accomplished in order to complete the task or reach the end goal. Fulfillment of this resolution will allow me to be less anxious, more relaxed, and feel less guilty. The quality of work I produce will also be higher, and I will be proud of what I have done.

2) I will not go two days in a row without some sort of physical activity. The standards for what counts as physical activity can be lax -- a 20 minute walk, 10 minutes of jumproping, 500 jumping jacks, 3 sets of push-ups. But there should be some exercise every day, or at a minimum, every other day. This will improve my general well-being. My mood will be better, since exercise is a known enhancer of mood. I will be more alert because of the oxygen circulating through my body. More generally, this is also good for health.

3) I will not drink soft drinks. When I am looking for a little caffeine boost, I will drink tea instead. Bored? Water will do. This will help me not to feel bloated, as sodas sometimes cause me to. Also, my teeth won't decay from all of the acid, like those teeth kids use in their science fair projects about soda pop.

4) I will be thankful for what I have rather than dwelling on all the things I want. I will get rid of the things that I have but don't need. I will be okay with giving or even throwing these things away if necessary. This will make my life better by making my living environment less cluttered (me, more relaxed). It will reduce the hassle of constantly having to deal with the extra stuff as it takes up space and collects dust. In the future, I will not have accumulated so many things that they become a burden. This also includes being thankful and not critical of not-so-tangibles, like relationships, family, being employed, and nice weather.

5) I am going to read the books I have purchased but not read. I am going to spend more time reading books and less time reading blogs and the news online. It's not that I have anything against blogs or online news, but I think I do it in excess. Blog and news reading is shallow and frenetic, whereas reading books takes focus and is deep. I think taking time again to read books will help me become a more focused person. Also I won't feel like I have wasted my money to just have books that take up space.

6) I will blog even when I don't feel like blogging. I will remind myself that my future self will wish that my past self had been the blogging sort.

I opened the windows to change the air, and it is loud outside.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

going out

Today I managed to leave the house and make it to the grocery store without my purse. My purse, which contained my wallet. The wallet that keeps cash, credit cards, and generally, means of purchasing groceries. And I had been so proud of myself for having remembered to bring my re-usable grocery bags.