Monday, November 28, 2005

The Sleep Post

I'm sure some of you have wondered why my blog is titled the way it is when I have never written a post about sleep. Well, here it is: the BIG sleep post.

I have had an addiction to sleeping for as long as I can remember. I've always been able to sleep in every chance I get. Once, I actually slept until 5 p.m. (having gone to bed around 11 p.m. the night before). For some reason, I'm always tired. I am tired even when I get a good night's rest. And I am also tired when I get too little sleep. My eyes constantly feel like closing, and sometimes it almost hurts to stay awake.

I've never been able to figure out why I'm like this. I have considered that there may actually be something wrong with me. You see, I don't just sleep in my bed. I can sleep everywhere I go. In high school, I would fall asleep sitting up in class. This continued in to college, and got even worse. I'd fall asleep sitting in the front row. Nothing deterred me. The teacher could be next to me and I'd have no shame. This is because I don't think I could control the sleeping, which is why there may be more to this than just "being tired" or even being lazy.

My roommate in college, S, can attest to all of this. She was there on the days where I'd decide to skip my three morning classes and sleep until 2 p.m. It was as if nothing was important enough to pull me from the bed. Or, I'd be in my boyfriend's dorm room, sleeping the day away as he and his roommate came and went. They'd go to class, bring me back lunch, have people over...all while I was up in his loft sleeping. It's amazing that I managed to get the good grades I did. Now, I didn't act like this all through college. After sophomore year, I wised up and only took afternoon classes if I could...and I made sure never to skip a class, even for sleep. There may have been a few times in class where I dozed off, but for the most part I was back on track.

This takes us to the present. I've never liked waking up early (meaning before 10 a.m.), so I just get to work late. I've worked it out so I can arrive at work at 9:30 a.m., which is great. But still, even waking up at 7:30 is too early for me. I know that most people are up at 6 with no problem, but I just can't seem to do it. And lately, I just haven't been sleeping well at all. Last night, it took me over an hour to fall asleep. I was just lying there in some limbo-like state, thinking and thinking, but not sleeping. Once I did doze off, I fell into my dreams (which I can't remember now). But when I woke up this morning, I actually felt pretty good. On less sleep than usual. So, maybe I have been getting too much sleep all my life.

There's one more problem. My dreams. Or nightmares, as they often are. I always dream. I would say I have dreams about 90 percent of the times I'm sleeping. And, for quite a long time, most of these were nightmares. We're not talkin' your normal nightmare either, these things scared me so bad that it would take me a minute to understand they didn't actually happen when I woke up.

Usually, I'm being chased. Someone is after me and they are going to hurt me. Or my house or my room is under siege. I've been shot in my dreams, I've been kidnapped, and I've been running from wild animals. I've really almost died in my dreams too. But of course, I always wake up right before that happens. They say that if you die in your dream, then you're really dead. Hopefully, that's an urban legend. I think I dream in nightmares because of stress, of worry, of fear. I mean, I worry constantly when I'm awake, so I guess it makes sense that these feelings carry over in to sleep.

Anyway, as you can conclude, sleep has always been a problem for me, and it continues to be. My lack of sleep seems to conincide with my dreaming. In fact, I almost sleep worse when I have those vivid dreams. That doesn't make sense at all, since the dreams mean I'm in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is the deep sleep that's supposed to make you less tired in the morning.

But it's when I have these dreams that I get the least sleep. It's when I wake up knowing exactly what I dreamt about that I feel tired and groggy. But when I don't remember my dreams, when I've only touched the surface of sleep, that's when I feel most refreshed. I know, it completely contradicts the scientific explanation. What can I say, I'm an enigma.

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'm not thankful for...

Alright, I know it's almost Thanksgiving and I have a lot to be thankful for. I really do. But I'm going to buck the tradition of the "I'm thankful for..." post. I mean, we all know I'm going to have to recite that list at the dinner table tomorrow anyway, so in the interest of not being redundant, I'm compiling a list of things I'm not thankful for during this special holiday season.

1. I'm not thankful for... being at work all day today. Instead of being let out early before holidays, as per usual, our HR dept. sent a special e-mail saying our offices WILL be open until 5 p.m. today. Total diss. But of course I'll be using liberal leave and skipping out early anyway. Still, though...way to be in the spirit, office.

2. I'm not thankful for... all of the tickets to see the baby panda being taken within hours of going up for grabs. I'm in love with the panda, and there's nothing more I would like than to see him when he is still all cute in his little bear cub stage. I'm sure there's a whole bunch of people out there with the max amount of tickets, and I have none. People need to spread the love a little.

3. I'm not thankful for... being served frozen green tea today at Panera. I ordered iced green tea, as I always do, and they decided to add actual ice to it and make a green tea slushy thing. The result? A watered-down freezing drink and an annoyed, freezing me. Who orders slushies in 30 degree weather? Tell me, WHO!?

4. I'm not thankful for... accidentally running my car into a curb on the way home from class Monday night. I guess I was just so tired that I let the car drift and BAM...curb, meet prettycar. I am still worried that I threw off my alignment or my suspension or my rotation or some other such car thing. Which means I'll be completely paranoid until I go to the dealer. And I hate the dealer. It's all my fault, too. Ugh.

5. I'm not thankful for... my sister having to go back to school in a few days. I just got used to having her at home, and I don't feel like I've gotton to see her enough. I'm ready for her x-mas break to start, stat, so I can have my best buddy back.

And finally...
6. I'm not thankful for... the frickin' cold! Today is the coldest day yet, and I think I am developing a cold and a stuffy throat. The winter always gets to me, mind, body and soul. Rawr.

Aaaaand, that's about it. I AM thankful for just about everything else in my life: my family, my friends, my co-workers, my pets, my lifestyle, my car, my health and everyone else's, my Uggs which are currently keeping my feet warm, and of course, the baby panda, Tai Shan. He brings a smile to my face even when I'm feeling not very thankful at all, and that, my friends, is magical. You keep on kickin,' little guy! You rock!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Panda Fever

This? Is one of the cutest things I've ever seen. The photo at left, courtesy of AP/National Zoo, shows 4-month-old Tai Shan, the giant panda cub born in July. Viewing of this little guy has been limited, but tickets went on sale today for extended viewings in December, so panda pandemonium has hit once again.

I decided to check him out for myself and found this live webcam. And let me tell you, I cannot pull myself away from it. If you're ever having a bad day, pull up that link, because I guarantee it will make you smile. There's something about the innocence of the little cutie that no one can resist.

As I write this, he is sleeping on the floor...a minute ago, he was moving around, but apparently that tired him out and he just curled his little black legs under him and dozed off. Ten minutes ago, his mom was nuzzling with him. Oh, to be a panda.

So, you can see all this for 10 whole minutes in person at the National Zoo...but only if you score one of the coveted tickets being sold right now. However, it's a big bummer that the page is almost impossible to access due to very high demand. But at least we've got the panda cam to hold us over.

He's still sleeping, by the way, and I'm getting kind of impatient. Wake up, Tai Shan, wake up! I need my panda fix.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Unwanted advances, part deux

Ugh, so my favorite unwanted advancer (affectionately known as UW) is back. See this previous post for my history with will definitely help you understand what I'm writing now. When I last left off with this saga, UW and I were both going to Texas for a business trip. I was worried he would continue his unwanted advances while on said trip, and I didn't know how to act around him.

Well, I never reported in this blog what happened during the trip. Basically, I was my normal, nice self. This is bad. I was supposed to be stand-offish and less than friendly so that I didn't give him the wrong impression for the gazillionth time. That did not happen for a few reasons: (1) He is best buds with my boss, making it impossible for me to avoid him, (2) Besides my boss, he is the closest thing in the office I have to a friend, (3) He is close in age to me and therefore we get along well socially, (5) I am incapable of being even remotely aloof or mean, and (4) I like human companionship, dammit.

What does this all amount to? Well, it amounted to me spending almost every social situation with my boss...and UW. I was also drinking during most of these situations, which made me friendlier and much less guarded than normal. One night we ended up at a bar and I know we were talking about issues that I would normally not talk about with someone like UW. But, having consumed many fuzzy navels, I was feelin' good and talky. Then, at the closing banquet, I danced with him. I know, the humanity.

It was really innocent dancing, but it was still dancing. I thought for sure I'd screwed myself over by that point. But much to my surprise, he didn't act any different when we returned to work. It was weird, actually. On the trip, we had acted like actual friends...much more than our normal work acquaintance status. At one point he even said, "Thanks for being so open," or something like that. It kind of disturbed me, but I guess he meant, "Thanks for letting me get to know you better." That had been exactly what I'd worked so hard to avoid in the first place. Minus 50 points for me.

But as I was saying, back at work, we fell back in to out normal routine of not saying much to each other and having awkward conversations. He didn't even come to my cubicle very much. Until recently. Recently, as you all know, my status went from "in a relationship" to "single." At first, I vowed not to tell UW this fact. And I kept that vow for a few good weeks. But I inherently always need to tell the truth, and I can't conceal huge details of my life from people (even if they are pseudo-stranger/friend advancers). So I told him, and even then he was okay for a week or so. I felt like he had finally gotton the clue.

But this week, after he'd been up at my desk for a visit, I received an e-mail from him with no subject line. Inside, it asked me to go to a movie this weekend. It was just one sentence, a very nonchalant-sounding invite. This was unsettling for many reasons: (1) He asked me to go in the first place, which meant he thought I'd say yes, (2) He aksed me over E-MAIL, which is the worst possible way to ask a girl to go somewhere for the first time, and (3) I've rejected him numerous times already and specified before that I wouldn't like him in that way even if I was single.

So I decided simply to ignore the e-mail. I thought that for sure he would be far too embarassed to bring this up in person. But I should never underestimate his willingness to humiliate himself. Sure enough, today he asked me about it in person. I said I was busy this weekend. What I really wanted to say was that I don't feel comfortable seeing him anywhere other than work because of the way he pursued me before. Of course I couldn't say that. I don't want to start a problem with him. I just want everyone to get along, and I want to spare both of us as much embarassment as possible.

Now, you may be thinking that he just asked me out as a "friend." And maybe he did. But that is irrelevant at this point. The point is...I will never feel comfortable just being friends with him because of how he acted before. I like him as a person. I really do. He's a nice guy and he's fun to talk to and all, I just don't like him in a romantic way. But now this whole thing came up again--it's been over a year now since this all started--and it begs the question: Will he ever stop?

Advice is welcome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Friendliness Gene

Do you ever have one of those days where you're feeling so pissed off at the world that you go out of your way just to avoid normal human interaction? Today, that's me.

This is mostly due to the fact that I had to get up earlier than usual to trudge through traffic and be at work on time (which seldom happens) for training. It is also because my special monthly visitor came by today (if that's too much information for you, go read someone else's blog). But, there is a third component to my people-averse ways...simply put, I think I lack the friendliness gene.

Sure, I can be a generally friendly person. I can hold my own in social situations, I can make jokes (sometimes), and I do enjoy the occassional gossip. However, what I especially don't enjoy is speaking to random people. You know, in the elevator, at the market, waiting for the "walk" sign...there are people everywhere just dying to talk to someone. And I really don't welcome it.

Anyway, back to today. I come in this morning, and I'm in the parking garage walking to the elevator. As I'm going in the elevator, I notice someone coming toward me. So, logically, I hit the close button repetitively and take off before they can make in it. Nice, huh?

Once at work, I'm walking down the hall to the bathroom and I notice someone a ways behind me. I quickly punch in the door code, rush in to the bathroom, and thrust the door closed before the person can catch me--all this just to avoid actually speaking to someone.

Yes, I know it's polite to exchange pleasantries, but sometimes I'm just not up for it. This is a crappy day and all I want to do is hide in my cubicle and curl up in my chair. It's days like today where I wish I could wear a sign that says, "Mental health day: Please do not speak to me." I think everyone needs a day of just being with themselves--a day to think things over and ponder their lives.

But there's certain people who, no matter what signals you're giving off, ignore those completely and insist on unloading themselves upon you. You know who I'm talking about. It's usually strangers who do this.

Example: A co-worker of mine is always wanting to talk about his family. I understand that he's proud of his family, but he goes off on random tangents whenever anyone is within earshot. Another colleague told me the guy actually had him cornered in the elevator one day. He physically trapped someone in order to force a conversation upon him. That's a bit messed up, but at least these two had a pre-existing relationship (they knew each other first).

Another example in which this is not the case: I'm at the pharmacy waiting for my medication, when some random lady in front of me literally starts telling me about her day. No preface to the conversation. Just an "Oh, by the way, please humor me while I talk about myself"-type of thing.

What is the deal with this? This is even more messed up. Does she sit at home only talking to her cat so much that she craves human interaction this violently? Really, it's an invasion of my aural space.

In conclusion, to borrow from those amazing 80s TV public service announcements...It's conversational harassment. And I don't have to take it (except I really do have to take it, since I'd go even more out of my way not to piss off a random person that I would simply not to speak to them). Yeah.

Monday, November 14, 2005

My name is Lauren, and I'm a TVholic

Ugh, I'm back. And I'm feeling really guilty right now because I've been gone for so long. I've really been trying to make this a serious blog and to write at least twice a week. I have a lot to say, and a lot of witty ways to say it, so why not put it out there for the world? But, life just got me down again this past week or two. I didn't even think about making time for my poor neglected blog.

You see, my entire 30-minute fiction script was due last Monday. It took me a very long time to write and re-write all 35-40 pages of it. Plus, work got busy, since we were in crunch time to get our magazine to print. Between work, class, and my grueling TV schedule, there was just no time for blogging.

Speaking of my TV schedule, I think I'm starting to kick the addiction. I'm at class during some of my favorite shows, and I'm doing homework during others. I really think my TV show count--which averaged more than 10 regular shows per week--has been cut in half. And...this is the best part...I don't completely freak out when I miss a show! A couple weeks ago, I honestly could not stand to miss one of my shows. I would literally start stressing over it.

I remember an incident a few months ago when I missed Laguna Beach because K and I were out doing an errand. He promised we'd be back in time, and we weren't. Well, I completely went insane over it. I got extremely irritable and started yelling at him...over a TV show that has constant re-runs anyway. He told me I was acting crazy, but my excuse was that I warned him ahead of time this would happen if I missed the show. Anyway, he was right. I was crazy. No one should be that addicted to or reliant upon a TV show to keep them sane. Of course, many people acknowledge that Laguna Beach really is like crack, so maybe I get a pass for that one.

Tonight, I'm again going to miss the show since I'll be at class. And it's the season finale. I really feel sick at the prospect of missing it, but there is nothing I can do. MTV will probably play re-runs and it will probably be okay. See? This is a much healthier attitude than "If I miss Laguna Beach tonight my life as I know it will never be the same and the world will cease turning on its axis."

Hurrah for progress! And hopefully, hurrah for posting more on this blog!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Complaints of the Day

Anyone who has ever interacted with me knows that I am a master complainer. While most people keep their thoughts to themselves, I just have a knack for voicing all of my complaints to anyone within earshot. This has driven a few people mad in the past, but it seems to work for me. Voicing my complaints makes me feel better.

So, I figured voicing them on my blog will make me feel doubly better...after all, two mediums are better than one. Without further ado, behold my complaint-making skillz. Oh, and PS... I may even make this a weekly thing, so enjoy!

Complaint #1: I hate traffic. I know, nobody actually likes traffic, but enjoy thinking that I hate it more than the average person. I have waged a war with it for many many years, my most formidable enemy being a little road I like to call I-66... also fondly known as the Interstate OF INSANITY (insert evil laugh here). I am also often up against two other worthy foes...Route 50 and the Interstate of Insanity's little brother, I-4 the love of God please let me pass out-95.

For the longest time, I attempted to avoid my enemies. I searched in vain for back roads. But I still found myself bumper to bumper with my nemesis every day. Then, finally, it looked like I had won the war. I moved so close to work that I was able to avoid these roads altogether. I would laugh in glee as I cruised down Wilson Blvd., which is quite a smooth little ride compared to its ugly cousins. That joy ride lasted for an entire year...365 days of almost traffic-free commutes.

But now, I have moved to a far away land...outside of... the beltway. Oh, the horror! And my enemies are rearing their ugly heads again. Yesterday, I deided to try out my old foe, I-66. I lost miserably and spent an hour on the road screaming in terror. Today, I heard about an accident on 66, so I hopped on Rt. 50, thinking I would outsmart the unmerciful traffic. Shocked was I to find that the traffic had outsmarted me... with an accident on 50 as well! It was little consolation that I arrived at work in just 54 minutes. I mean, wow, I had shaved a whole 6 minutes off my commute! I felt like vomiting.

So, until I find a way to avoid these roads, these very banes of my existence, I resign myself to suffering. With map in hand, I will attempt to prosper, my eagle eyes searching for that one small road that may lead me to salvation. But mark my words, readers. Before I move away and escape this hellish excuse for a transportation network, I will find a way to beat it.

The traffic can take the few hours we have to enjoy ourselves after work, but it will never take our FREEDOM!

Okay, I had more complaints, but that one wore me out. It's too sensitive of a subject. I need to rest and let my heart stop racing. Deep breaths, deep breaths.

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