Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... read before burning

You get directions for a reason. Unfortunately, I don't always seem to understand that concept. I usually throw directions aside without as much as a glance. However, I learned the hard way that’s not always a good idea.

Last Friday, I decided to donate blood. It was my first time ever donating. I don’t like needles or seeing my blood drawn, but I set aside my dislike for the greater good.

My little brother had several blood transfusions while going through chemotherapy. Somebody had to donate all that blood. What about the other children or adults out there that needed transfusions? Somebody has to step up and donate for them too. I decided that somebody should be me, so I offered my arm and strong veins for the cause. The bloodmobile wanted 13 donors for the day. Guess who was lucky number 13?

I was extremely nervous, but overall the experience wasn’t that bad. Sure I was poked three times (once to check my iron, then to get my blood type and finally for the donation), but I had the satisfaction of knowing that my amazing O blood helped save three lives.

Before leaving, I was given a sheet with directions on what to do after donating. I stuck it in my bag and went about my business. There it would remain until tragedy struck.

Dizziness suddenly hit me four hours later while I was at work. I stumbled to the bathroom and fell on the floor. I couldn’t even lift my head up. Then I started sweating. The AC was on, but my body was drenched in it. “Lord, please don’t let my mama find out I died in the bathroom,” I thought. Diabetes runs in my family, so I concluded I was going into a diabetic coma.

I lay on the floor for about 45 minutes before trying to head back to my desk. I didn’t make it and went back to the bathroom. I contemplated crawling out and asking someone to take me to the hospital, but I wasn’t sure if my condition was that serious. “I still have stories to write, and a hospital trip might make me miss deadline,” I thought. I am a diligent reporter even in the face of death.

When I made it back to my desk, a co-worker saw all the sweat and asked what was going on. I gave him my diabetic coma theory. He asked if I had looked at the donation directions. Nope.

Apparently, you are supposed to drink plenty of fluids and eat after giving blood. I was in the middle of eating when the dizziness hit, but I had only drunk maybe two juices since donating. Reading the directions would have probably saved me some grief.

Another wave of dizziness hit, and I went back to being one with the bathroom floor. One co-worker kept checking on me until I finally came out. Then the dizziness vanished just as quickly as it appeared. I still felt loopy, but another black out didn’t seem imminent.

The moral of this story is simple: Don’t donate blood! Just kidding. I’ll donate again in December, but this time I’m drinking a 24-pack of water, eating a hearty lunch and READING the directions before tossing them.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... the cook is in

There is a repressed chef somewhere inside of me. I think it's high time I let her out.

Lately I've been having this urge to cook more than just the simple dishes I make for dinner each week. Sadly, I mainly cook variations of baked chicken, brown rice and a green vegetable. My taste buds may not be that great, but a body does get tired of the same old thing.

I want food that touches my soul and my stomach, but mostly my soul. I could probably go to some restaurant and buy that type of food, but I think I want to actually make it.

This newfound desire to cook is a shock to me. I find the entire cooking process to be very challenging. For one thing, cooking stresses me out. I feel like I always have to labor over a hot stove and oven. Then I hate touching food, particularly raw meat. It tends to make me want to vomit. Also, cooking takes me forever. Those recipes that say 20 minutes or less equate to an hour for me.

Perhaps my problems are because I don't cook that often. Partially it's due to laziness. Rarely am I motivated to cook. I have to force myself to cook. I'm only cooking for me. Any meal I cook lasts a few days.

Nevertheless, I am determined to find my inner Chef Girlardee. I just need some taste testers. I used to have a few at my beck and call in college. One got to sample my peach cobbler. Others had my cinnamon pork chops. Some even sampled my chicken pesto. College is all about experimentation. Experiment I did with my cooking. I would take a recipe and add my own flair to it.

College students are more than happy to taste test for a free meal. My testers would tell me what was good or what was bad. I took their constructive criticism and used it to improve a particular dish. Once I graduated, I stopped cooking as much. I was busy with work, and I didn't have any taste testers.

I think I've finally figured out how to balance work and cooking. Instead of cooking because I'm hungry, I prepare a meal in advance and refrigerate it. Planning meals for a specific day also makes me a little more excited. I am determined to try one new recipe a week. Now I just need some new taste testers.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... trust issues

I think I’m a pretty trusting person. Perhaps too trusting. I’ve gotten in cars with strangers, walked through the drive thru at McDonald’s with strangers and I probably make myself way too accessible to, that’s right, strangers. So I was thrown for a loop when someone recently told me that I have trust issues. Surely not I?
The person came to this conclusion based on how I reacted to him directing my driving. I was blocked in a parking lot and needed to get out. A space diagonal to me opened up, and he was trying to help direct my maneuvering. Cars were on every side, so I had to align my car just right to make sure I didn’t hit one.
Simple enough right? Not for me, the world’s worst driver. I was semi-hyperventilating because I thought I was about to hit the car in front of me. I couldn’t really see how close I was, and he made me nervous with his directing.
I have hit many things since getting a license: parked cars, deer, the Easter bunny, trees and walls. You name it; I probably hit it at least twice. So pardon me if I get nervous when someone is trying to direct me.
It’s not that I didn’t trust his directing. I don’t trust my driving. Sometimes I hear things differently. I think I have verbal dyslexia. Telling me to turn my wheels left might change into a sharp right. It takes a few trips for me to fully be comfortable with someone directing me.
My old road partner, Cee, pointed out I probably would have been OK if she was the one directing. She knows just how bad of a driver I am, after riding with me countless times (and surviving). Cee knows just what to say while directing me to put my bad nerves at ease.
This was only the second time my new road partner had experience my driving. He knows that I’m far from the best driver, just not to the extent of how bad. Had he known, he would have never ridden with me in the first place (just kidding, sort of).
So I don’t have trust issues, right? Well just to make sure, I asked Fan Club President. He said I don’t. So there it’s official. I do not have trust issues. At least ones that I care to admit yet. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Although, I guess if I want to be perfectly honest with myself, I do have some trust issues. Then again, don’t we all. Tell a group of people that a door is locked, and I guarantee most of them will have to check it for themselves. Clearly that demonstrates a lack of trust.
I have many malfunctions that one may call my tragic character flaws: I hold grudges, get mad easily and sometimes just can’t be bothered. However, trust is one thing that is not a major problem. I trust you, unless of course you break that trust. But that’s a post for another day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chronicles of Life ... The Clean Machine

The Green Machine is back in business, and better than ever. There’s going to be some changes made to promote better treatment of my car.
It used to be my dad’s car, but he gave it to me after I graduated from college. The Green Machine (yes, that’s its name) was in impeccable condition when I first took control. It was in good working condition, clean and smelled nice. Somewhere along the line, it lost most of those qualities. I can’t blame anybody but myself for that.
Oil changes were when I remembered to do them. Car washes were whenever it rained. The nice smell was the only thing left from its lasting legacy (at least when I remembered to get an air freshener).
Soon my parents started calling the Green Machine “Mobile Filth.” It wasn’t that it was filthy per say. It just had a lot of junk in it, and sunflower seeds usually littered the floor and seats.
Why sunflower seeds? Driving makes me nervous, and I have a tendency of falling asleep on the road. Sunflower seeds help distress me and keep me awake. There is something soothing and waking in having to crack open and remove sunflower seeds from their shells. Unfortunately, because I’m a bad driver, a lot of times those very seeds would fall over the place. Vacuuming them up would be the easiest solution, but sometimes (actually most) I would forget to do it.
I once pointed out to a friend that my car was like Texas Roadhouse. Instead of peanuts being thrown all over the place, I had sunflower seeds.
Living so far from home also put a lot of wear and tear on the Green Machine, and I wasn’t getting it serviced regularly. I was clearly asking for trouble. Who could have known oil changes were so important?
I do love the Green Machine despite its messy and unserviced state. The Green Machine has carried me on many a road trip, and not once has it broken down. I just had a bad way of showing the love. It was time to change that. Furthermore, I was tired of my daddy always nagging about how I need to get my car serviced and cleaned. And that’s only when he was not complaining about how I let his car get into such a bad shape.
So Wednesday, I spent four hours at the car dealership. I still have like 50 million things that need to be done, but for now the Green Machine is feeling all better. On top of that, they cleaned the Green Machine on the inside and outside! I almost didn’t recognize my car.
The guy that cleaned it said I owed him lunch or something because he hooked me up. Honestly he did.The Green Machine is quite happy now and so am I.
This made me realize something. If you care about someone, or something, you shouldn’t just treat them any kind of way. So I made a pledge to the Green Machine. I am going to keep it serviced on a regular basis and keep it as clean as possible. I don’t want a dirty car to be a reflection on me, and waiting too long to get it serviced can cause a whole heap of problems. Those problems get expensive. And if nothing else, I don’t want the mobile Texas Roadhouse anymore. Sunflowers seeds can be irritating when you sit on them
Trust me, I know.