Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Art of Deferment

My time management skills are funny- not funny as in haha she’s f@&!%$ hilarious, but funny as in pathetically and predictably ironic.   I have suffered with the ailment of procrastination, procrastination’s lover easy distraction, and their bastard child apathy for most of my life.     It is not a chronic condition. I’ve managed to be active and productive enough to stay out of the gutter, maintain gainful employment, avoid living as a hermit, sustain a social life, and sidestep the health problems that commonly plague stationary souls.

I am confident though, that this recurrent infirmity of mine is a slippery slope; territory in which one must tread carefully. For it will not take me out like an acute illness, but will rob my life in a more subtle way.  Even now as I sit at the kitchen table, staring out the window, admiring the beautiful day and gorgeous landscape, I struggle to resist the tempting allure of procrastination.

Today is a day off; accordingly my to-do list only consists of about 5 hours worth of mandatory/must-get-it-done work. I am self aware enough to note that all the things on this list are for the betterment of my own life (trust me, I’m not suffering under the yoke of an evil dictator).   Yet, there is plenty to do.  I was up at 7am, spent some time reading and reflecting, took the dog out to go potty, ingested some fruit and yogurt, and then revisited my list.  Confident that I could easily get the items done in a few hours, I was already envisioning myself wrapping up by noon and enjoying the rest of the day… No problem, this should be a piece of cake (Mmmm speaking of cake, I could really go for a piece of that delish B-52 cake from Beaches right now).   

But like most tasks that don’t have monetary, emotional, or tangible compensation attached to them, or a harsh deadline hovering over them, I’m finding it difficult to stay on track. This is typically the case whenever I am not mentally stimulated or emotionally invested in the specific undertaking at hand.   

For example, this is what has transpired since I first sat down at my computer to work on my project:


1.         Read all the news of the day on  The usual suspects in the Middle East are not playing nice again, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes have reached a settlement with their divorce, the debris from the tsunami in Japan is reaching the West Coast, and I submitted an entry for an online pet photo contest.
2.         Cuddled with Riley over coffee and read a chapter from Sleeping With the Enemy (a fascinating book about the life of Coco Chanel).
3.         Ran out of dental floss, decided to swish & gargle with hydrogen peroxide to ensure my permanent retainer was clean.  Then spent the next 15 minutes on the internet researching to see if this actually works (Snopes seems to think it is an effective mouth wash and method of cleaning a toothbrush).
4.         Went through my list of Facebook friends and deleted people that annoy me.  While on Facebook, I also spent a moment oogling over the recent baby pictures posted by several of my friends (and I wondered if they had a group sex date that I was unaware of… how did so many of them conceive children at the same time?)
5.         Searched the web for hostels in the Italian Rivera for my girls’ weekend with Hannah.
6.         Feeling frustrated with my lack of productivity, opted to go for a run to get focused.  Took two steps out the door before concluding it was far too hot to run. Retreated back inside.  Did a few reps with hand weights until it interfered with my cookie eating (brought them back to the table with me for future use).
7.         Frustrated with my lack of exercise, I researched workout classes in my area, filling my calendar with the classes I will take each week for the next month… I’m confident I have burned calories just planning these future workouts.
8.         All the future exercise made me hungry, causing an overwhelming urge to plan what to make for dinner (even though dinner out is already scheduled).  Spent 20 minutes reading online recipes & making a shopping list, end up armed with new information to improve my lamb dish.
9.        Decided I was starving and made a snack, utilizing the remaining produce in my fridge. At this point I put the cookies away, but not before shoving two more in mouth for good measure. After the package is safely stowed away in the cupboard, I praise myself for my healthy choice.
10.         Enamored with my beautiful and colorful snack, I had no choice but to go outside and pose this perfect plate in the sunshine for a picture (see earlier blog posting about my food porn problem).
11.       Unable to ignore the thought that wine would be a perfect accompaniment to my astounding snack, I spent 10 minutes pondering whether or not 11:30am was too early to open a bottle of Rosé.
12.       Shook the visions of wine from my head and went back to my “to-do” list, fetching the paperwork I needed to get started.
13.       Noticed that after 3 hours of my ears ringing, the neighbor’s baby finally stopped screaming.  This baby is always screaming, I wonder if maybe she has colic? I had colic as a baby.  I contemplate if I would be overstepping my bounds if I brought over some Colic Calm Gripe Water. Hhhmm, do they sell that at the local pharmacy? I might have to order it online…
14.       Riley’s relentless napping and lethargic mass of fur started to really annoy me (if I can’t sleep, why should he?), so I retrieved his tennis ball. Dribbling it with my hand like a basketball on the tile around his head until I irritate him to the point where his giant head popped up, and he grabbed the ball with his mouth.  We then engaged in a few playful minutes of “hoops”.  
15.       Disappointment is ushered in upon returning to the refrigerator, as I’m confronted with the new reality that my pepperoncini inventory is lacking. This hurdles me onto a rabbit trail of thought. Why can’t one buy fresh pepperoncinis in the delis of US grocery stores, but in European markets they are sold fresh similar to olives, cheese and meat.  Needing an answer, I Googled my question and found it is because they are native to Italy and Greece, not the US.
16.       Something came to my mind that I deemed as humorous. I immediately had to email my dearest friend, Nicole, and share the brilliance.
17.       While emailing Nicole, I noticed a mark on my freshly mopped kitchen floor. I couldn’t think about anything else now, I had to go inspect, and re-clean. 
18.       Realizing it is now noon, I panic and sit back down at the computer, trying to get back on track. However, I login and see a sad story in my news feed about a life prematurely lost. Feeling emotional, I immediately message my brothers to tell them I love them.  I determine noon is definitely not too early for wine.
19.       Since I’m online anyway, I should go to and see if they have my beloved TOMS wedges back in stock.  Tragically, along with my lost luggage, my pair is still missing in action. Gosh, I sure miss those shoes.
20.       Heroically, I begin to work on my task. Only to deviate seconds later to contemplate how much time I have wasted. I wonder if I have adult ADHD?   Hmmm… maybe I’ll write a blog post about this topic?

I just need to get a cookie first.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Chania, Greece

Chania (Greek: Χανιά) lies along the north coast of the island of Crete and is the second largest city (first is Heraklion).  Even though Chania was heavily bombed during World War II, the crumbling Venetian harbor, and Old Town (the heart of touristic traffic), are still thought to be the most beautiful urban district on Crete.  Behind the harbor is the area of Topanas. The area of Topanas is very charming and colorful, narrow alleys and old picturesque buildings, most of which have been restored and are functioning as restaurants, shops, hotels, and bars.  Chania also boast a lively nightlife and is the center of much activity.    
I enjoy wandering in and out of the little alleys and shops.  There is a little juice stand where you pick out whatever fruits you want and they juice it for you... Yum!!    Riley and I will sometimes just grab a table and people watch for hours.   This is also a great place to get a pedicure (I like this place   Chania also has a great produce markets on the weekends.




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Is the Highroad Giving You Altitude Sickness?

When you have altitude sickness from taking the highroad too long, it’s time to make some changes. Personally, I recommend dealing with it “Dorothy” style (sans the blue-and-white gingham dress and rat dog).  This may mean throwing a bucket of water on the witch, yanking the curtain back on the faux Wizard, and roughing up some dirty monkeys, but sometimes enough is freaking enough.

We all have witches and wizards who wreak havoc in our lives, serving as emotional terrorists. If you can’t instantly think of at least one person like this, you are either 1) lying (no doubt because you’re afraid the person will somehow hear your thoughts and go ape-shit on you just for mentally recognizing them); 2) living under a rock completely removed from society; 3) a man; or 4) you are the emotional terrorist in someone else’s life.

Surely you know the person I’m talking about. They may be lurking in your circle of friends, place of worship, neighborhood, place of employment, or God-forbid… even within your own family.   I can think of two recent emotional terrorists in my life, and just the thought of these unstable whack-jobs leaves me longing for an anti-anxiety pill (luckily my dog, Riley, has prescription of Valium I can tap into when flashbacks occur).

These people may or may not have tangible power over our lives, but regardless, we have given them power. How so you ask? We have allowed them to have control over the quality of our lives because we have believed that the price of freedom was too great.  Thus, we were unable or unwilling to take the stand.  The idea of confronting this person or cutting them out of your life altogether leaves you petrified.  This is the same reason you stay quiet, or do something you really don’t want to do. You acquiesce only because you don’t want to deal with the dramatic outpouring of nonsense that will projectile vomit all over your day if you dare not to play this person’s game or adhere to their erratic rules.

No longer. Got it? It ends now.

I’ve always enjoyed sparring.  My brothers took karate for years when they were young. Accordingly, we would frequently turn our downstairs playroom into a makeshift WWF ring and do hand-to-hand combat until either… one of our parents freaked out and banished us to our respective rooms; we broke something, achieving the same result; or someone would get hurt, run off crying, and then we would all instantly disperse like cockroaches caught in a spotlight.    Regardless, sparing became a favorite past time for us siblings. As we matured, the physical matches turned verbal, and we took pride in our ability to choose a topic, pick positions, and debate.   Even though I enjoy the sport of controversy, if my bullshit meter has been redlining for too long, you might want to take cover. 

Emotional terrorists however, are different than a typical confrontation. They require different handling than a more obvious enemy.  They don’t comply with the standard rules of warfare. They fully ignore the Geneva Convention of life. And make no mistake, there are no moral principles governing their combat tactics (kind of like in the movie Mean Girls, but without the SNL cast members or pre-train-wrecked coke-whore Lindsay Lohan).

Because emotional terrorists often lack verbal skills and tend to be short on intelligence, they choose other approaches, such as leveraging your social and emotional fear- utilizing savage mental games to get their desired result (picture a toddler mid-meltdown jacked up on meth).  Let’s recognize they are clearly the weaker side in this unfair, unjust war.  After all, if they actually had the skill and power to achieve their purposes in a conventional way, there would be no need for these shadowy strategies. 

If we could somehow see these people as they really are, we would find that they’re the most insecure and unhappy people around.  They themselves live as prisoners of fear- terrified that you are going to tread on the one thing they have going for them. Or worse, they really have nothing going for them, and they tremble at the thought that you will expose them for the fraud they are.

In the musical, The Wizard of Oz (Based on the 1900 children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum), we find the Wizard, a mostly unseen character, revered as the ruler of the Land of Oz, residing in the Emerald City, the capital of Oz.   The Wizard appears in several different forms (a giant head, a beautiful fairy, a ball of fire, and even as a horrible monster), controlling his subjects with fear, as they believe him to be powerful and the only one capable of solving their problems.   But as the story unfolds, we learn the Wizard is nothing more than an ordinary man, with a back-story as a dubious circus magician.  His mighty power is merely machine made; nothing more than smoke, mirrors and a microphone.  
How many times have we been controlled by the different faces of the great & powerful wizards in our lives?   If a complete stranger treated us the way our wizard has, we would raise a hypothetical middle finger and tell them to spin on it (in no uncertain terms).
Here is my question then... Why do we keep allowing the little circus magician and his throwback sound system to control us?
"Pay no attention to that man (or mean girl) behind the curtain."  These are words we should pay attention to. If we decide to push back the curtains on the emotional terrorists in our lives, we would find that they are scared, insecure people with nothing really going for them.   If you happened to be loved, successful, educated, self-sufficient, or aren’t coming to the table empty handed, it is very possible that an emotional terrorist might be threatened by your power.  After all, accidental or not, your house may have landed in their territory (hopefully not on their sister).

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Monday, July 2, 2012

Greeks... They Can't Tell Time, But They Sure Make Great Wine!

Visiting the Dourakis Winery was a highlight!  The property was beautiful and the wine was wonderful.   They even had an organic wine option!   Not too far off the highway, definitely worth the short drive.   My favorite wine was only 4 Euros (that never happens at home).