Old Habits Die Easily

"Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time."- Mark Twain.

I have never been a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. Like Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day, I disliked holidays that asked us to stop and examine our lives for one day out of the year, then go back to how we were. Ideally, these mentalities should be carried through the whole year round.
This year in place of resolutions I decided to just alter some habits I thought could be beneficial.
My goals are as follows:
1. Drink at least 3 glasses of water a day- I have never been a big water-drinker. I love the stuff, but for some reason, when I'm thirsty, everything else in my house usually sounds better. But, every time I go out to eat I order a water, and end up having 3 or 4 glasses. I don't know if I trust the old "8 glasses a day" advice, but I think starting small is the way to go. Already I'm feeling a difference. Pop has lost a lot of its attraction, which for anyone who knows me knows is a big deal.
2. Floss daily-Never been into flossing either. It's a vicious cycle; never floss, so gums are weak, so when I do floss, my gums hurt. Finally decided to break the cycle, and so far it's been way easier to remember to do it than I was expecting. And I can feel a difference- my teeth actually feel cleaner. I read somewhere once that without flossing 40% of your teeth's surface doesn't get cleaned.
3. Buy only 1 candy or snack item at a time- This is a big one. Due to a tight budget this semester, my cookie and chip funds have shrunk. I have always been the type of person that when I want something to snack on, I buy it. I don't take my own lack of funds or the unhealthiness of the product into consideration. But now I'm making sure I only have 1 treat in the house at a time. It's been tough- I've realized how much I love to mix and match my snacks (like Twizzlers and Reece's Pieces). The other weird thing is it makes me take size of the snack into account. For example, last weekend I bought a small chocolate cake from the discounted bakery aisle. Typically I'd buy this without much thought, eat a few slices, then the rest would inevitably go stale before I could finish it. Now that it's the only snack in the house, I feel an obligation to see it through to completion. It's like having homework or something. I start to think about dessert and then remember I have to get through that cake, and my heart sinks a little.
Cakes are an inherently social food. There's a reason you only see them at parties and weddings. No one is designed to eat a whole cake by themselves. Probably won't be buying cakes again for a while.


Let's Play "Name the Smell"

I live in the basement of my fraternity's building in a 1 bedroom studio. While I value the privacy this provides me, it does come with a few surprising downsides.
One of the most frequent consequences of basement living is that my apartment attracts smells from all the other apartments in the building. I am not sure why smells sink to the bottom of the building, but they seem to converge in my living room on a daily basis. I guess for the same reasons that heat rises, smells must sink.
What surprises me the most is the clarity of the smells that appear. Typically the smells are from something being cooked. The scent is so strong and so succinct it's as if the meal is being prepared right in my own kitchen. I can usually name not only the main dish being prepared (typically some delicious smelling meat), but even the side dishes and various seasonings involved. And, living in a building of 12 different apartments filled with people living various time schedules, there are smells wafting in at all hours of the day. It's like a train station around here.
As you can imagine, this creates quite a bit of confusion for my body. Imagine living in a room that smells like 20 different delicious meals throughout the day. Then imagine going to your kitchen and finding only Pb and J's and Ramen to greet you. Sadly, neither my culinary skills nor my budget can match those of my neighbors, and I'm forced to simply live vicariously through their dinners with the help of my nose and our building's faulty ventilation system.


Cat Scratch Fever

My cat is bored. I think he's developed cabin fever because of the cold weather. Usually he spends a third of the day outside, doing lord knows what. But since the snow started falling he's been confining himself indoors, and I think it's taking its toll. He just walks around the apt, being crabby and meowing. He sits by the edge of the couch and stares up at me expectantly, as if it's suddenly my job to keep him entertained.

I thought the whole allure of having a cat was they would keep themselves busy. Unlike dogs, who crave and require attention, (and permission to use the bathroom) cats seem to have their own agenda most of the time. Unless the food bowl is empty or the litter box runeth over, my cat doesn't find much time to hang out with me. He'll usually end up in my bed, but I get the feeling that has more to do with the softness of the blankets than the pleasure of my company.

So I've been trying to keep his spirits up: I brought out a scratching pad full of catnip. I let him get into the cabinets he thinks will be interesting, but then quickly grows bored once he views the contents. I point out things around the apartment he might not have smelled yet; "How about that book?" I ask, "Have you smelled that book yet? I bet it smells interesting."

Overall, this experience has taught me 2 things. One, my apartment is somehow big enough for me, but not big enough for my cat. I'd find that fact depressing if I wasn't so impressed. Secondly, I have completely lost my ability to "play". I can't figure out how to keep a cat interested in a game of tug of war, or catch the string. Even with the aid of expensive cat toys, his interest wanes after the first couple of minutes. It's the same reason I'm terrible around children. My brain can't work on their level, making an adventure out of Barbies and GI Joes. It must be one of those "Use it or Lose it" skills that just didn't progress past middle school.

I don't feel too sorry for my cat though. He's 7 years old, you'd think he would have developed a sense of seasons by now.


Moment of Happiness

Yesterday morning I awoke for a few minutes in the early morning. I had fallen asleep the night before on my couch while watching TV. I awoke to find my cat sleeping soundly at my side. I can't put into words the feeling of waking up for just a few seconds and feeling the warmth of a sleeping cat next to you. If you've never experienced it you really should.


New Year New Job

So I started working for the school paper. Having never worked for any type of journalism establishment, I felt very under qualified. But what the heck they took me anyway. My new job is the opinion editor, which is great for me. I love strong opinions, and I'd hate to have to assign people to do random news stories. This way everyone writes about what they want to write about.
Probably the best part about this job so far is that I get my own desk. My own desk, my own chair, my own computer, access to a printer. A large collection of office supplies as well. And more notebooks than I know what to do with.
I think this job will inspire me to stay even more up to date with news and the world around me.



At work, whenever I have to clean the aisles after a movie, I'm amazed at how many pills I find on the floor among the popcorn and napkins. I would expect to see one or two every once in a while, maybe they fall out of someone's purse. But I'll usually see 4-6 on a given day. It makes me wonder who these women are that are going to movies with purses just overflowing with various pills.


My bread story

Yesterday at the grocery store I was checking out my favorite aisle, the discounted foods section, and came across a loaf of french bread. The bread, only 89 cents by the way, had this motto printed on the side: "Time to Eat Bread Again." This raises a lot of questions. When was it not time to eat bread? My first guess is that this is in reference to the Aktins no-carb diet that took America by storm. But that was what, 7 years ago? Are we just now getting back to being a bread-friendly country? That's a long time to recover. Perhaps it took that long to cleanse America's colons of all that beef, since that is apparently the only thing people eat on the Aktin's diet. This makes me wonder what kind of damage the Aktins diet did to the bread industry. Maybe it ran some of them out of business? Is that why this bread is only 89 cents? I just picture some bread factory shutting its doors as its owner stands in the parking lot, fist waving towards the heaven, cursing Robert Aktins and his carb hating habits.