relationships

365 Challenge: Day 27 – Warm-Blooded

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Warm-Blooded: (1) ardent, passionate, or (2) relating to or denoting animals (chiefly mammals and birds) that maintain a constant body temperature, typically above that of the surroundings, by metabolic means; homeothermic

I’ve wanted to blog about this topic for a few days, but I was mulling over whether to call it “warm” or “hot” blooded. I only intended to cover one of the two definitions, but figured I’d list both, since education is a good thing. “Hot,” to me, speaks to ardent and passionate, whereas “warm” speaks to the body temperature, which is what I want to discuss. A reader’s first thought is likely… “what does body temperature have to do with a trait about you or your personality?” And you’d be correct to let that thought cross your mind. But by the end of this post, it will become more clear.

The weather’s been getting warmer here in NYC where I live. I had a few days this week where I needed to pull out shorts, not only to lounge around my apartment, but also when I left to run an errand around town. And I’m not happy. I much prefer the cooler weather of early spring and late autumn; even winter is better than the temperature during the summer. But why, you ask, I’m sure… do you care so much about the temperature? That’s simple… I seem to feel temperature more than most others; my body seems to register on high alert anytime the temperature goes above 60 — and it just makes me uncomfortable, miserable and a sourpuss.

Our normal body temperatures are supposed to be 98.6 degrees. We’re all taught that when we are youngsters. Some people float a little low or a high, which is normal. My average body temperature tends to be 97 degrees. I’m not exactly sure what this means (any medical professionals out there know?), but I believe it has wrecked with body’s reaction to the change in external temperature.

Once it hits 60 degrees outside, I sweat! I will often wear one shirt to work (walking to the subway) and change when I arrive at the office — not because I look sweaty or smell (don’t even go there) — but because it irritates me, I feel sickly and my positive outlook on the day just drains away. I almost shut down when I get too warm or sticky, unable to focus or think. And it makes me a bit miserable to be around. I know it. I admit it.

On the flip side, if I trudge through snow to get to my destination, I arrive all happy, optimistic and ready to get the day started. How odd…. go ahead and say it… I often think the same thing to myself. But being comfortable is essential to being happy and productive throughout the day. I’m sure some folks feel the same if they are shivering and unable to focus because it’s too cold, so you surely must understand my predicament.

It’s much worse during the summer months (mid-June thru mid-September) where I barely function. I can tolerate it for a little while longer, but I know it’s coming and I am not thrilled about sweaty, hot, smelly subways, stagnant and moist (yes, I used that word…) air you feel all around you… perhaps I should move to an environment where the weather is much more amenable to my body temperature needs. Back to the topic.

So warm-blooded applies to us all, as we’re mammals, but to me, warm-blooded means I am always warm. I generate an inordinate amount of body heat. Everyone loves to cuddle with me. I hate it because they don’t take the body heat away from me. They just give me more of their body heat. Ugh. I rarely feel cold or chilly, and if I am, it usually means I’m catching a cold.

Being warm-blooded is probably a good thing, tho, and I shouldn’t complain about it. But because of it, and my body’s reaction to external temperature, my entire personality is affected when I hit my pressure point… which unlike most people is not just at the extremes, given it’s anything above 60 degrees. Hence why I said this is more a characteristic than it may have sounded like at the beginning. If the temperature goes up, you know what to expect when you see me. I’ll complain about it right away. I’ll only travel so far to meet people for dinner or drinks. Selfish… irritable… short-tempered… whiny… that’s what I become. And if those aren’t annoying traits, I don’t know what is!

A friend brings me an Evian mister spray when we go out during the summer. It’s kinda amusing, but it helps.

At least people know this about me and try to work with me on it. Perhaps I’m exaggerating a tad, but in all seriousness, the weather has a huge impact on me. I love rain. I love snow. I hate heat. I abhor humidity. There, I said it. No beach vacations for me.

So what do I do with this knowledge: move to the mountain tops, find a job as a sleigh driver in the Arctic Circle, buy an air-conditioned suit? Or learn to live with it, push the boundaries a bit each time and hope for the best. Eh… A LOT OF SHOWERS too… coincidentally, how cute is that graphic below! 😛

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay. I am 40 and live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post.

 

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365 Challenge: Day 24 – Wistful

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Wistful: having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing

When I picture the word wistful, I think of nostalgia — staring into the sky and wishing for the past. I once posted that I am an old soul, but today’s topic is different. Wistful conjures more emotions, a gravitational pull or force towards something you wish you had, or perhaps once had and unfortunately lost. It reminds me of a Japanese word I came across and literally makes you feel the emotion when you pronounce it.

I am wistful over many things… memories of a happy time with people I am no longer close to or who have passed on… the innocence of being a child or not feeling the burden of worry and necessary tasks… different choices I could have made in life, wondering what could have been.

We all have these moments, sometimes it is fleeting, but others it is a significant portion of our day, consuming our thoughts until we feel feverishly impacted. For most of us, it is easy to control; we allow ourselves a few minutes to dip into the past and question “what could have been.” For some, they are caught up in an inability to accept what has happened and cannot function with where they ended up.

When I allow melancholy and a wistful moment to blossom, I often remember the decisions I made in life, thinking about the alternate options and if would I feel any differently than I do today. What if I:

  • Finished obtaining certification to become a teacher?
  • Stayed in California?
  • Began writing books when I was younger?
  • Had children?

The list could go on and on… not quite regrets, not quite desires… somewhere in the middle, showing me an alternate life. Wistful because I could see the beauty and growth of students learning and obtaining a good education…. because I may have moved up the corporate ladder even more quickly… because I may have been published at an earlier age… because I wouldn’t feel too old to consider starting parenting now.

When I get wistful, I often stare blindly at some object. Never anything beautiful or fanciful that would distract me. I’m not looking into an elaborate forest and wondering, or smiling at a opening flower. I’m looking at a blank wall or the corner of a floor, or even into the darkness, as I fall asleep in my bed.

To some, this may sound sad and overwhelming. To me, it is a way of challenging myself to always wonder about the alternative choices and options. A way of pushing myself to never give up. An opportunity for change, if I ever really want it.

I could return to school to finish getting that teaching degree. I could move back to California and push harder. I can’t change when my first book is published, but I can make it a larger focus to publish more. And I can still have children, as I’m really still rather young. But are these truly desires or just wistful moments to help me feel connected to decisions I’ve previously made, but possibly still contemplating?

I’m not being philosophical. I’m not playing Hamlet. I’m not even channeling my inner Freud. I’m allowing myself a healthy wonder to materialize from time to time, balancing the ability to feel the emotions (regret, sympathy, fear, happiness, acceptance) with the choices we make upon each split in the road of our lives.

But in those wistful moments, picturing the alternatives, focusing on the memories, breathing in the smells, hearing the sounds, sensing the past… it’s a rather calming sensation for me, even when I realize I might have made a different choice, knowing what I know now. But I wouldn’t change it. Not from fear. Not from religion or science. But because I cannot change it and see no reason to get caught up in thinking about it with too much deep concern.

Just enough to keep me always realizing each day is an accepted step, building towards a determined path, culminating in a unique journey that I claim as my own. But during that journey, it’s always valuable to remember playing a board game with my godmother who passed away from cancer, writing letters to a grandmother who felt lonely, and standing in field convincing myself to always let my words be the most powerful thing about me. And if a tear rumbles down my cheek, or a crack in my voice surfaces, or even a nervous giggle and a coy smile… it will always be worth it — to be wistful in that moment.

365 Challenge: Day 23 – Short

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Short: measuring a small distance from end to end, lasting or taking a small amount of time

Today’s characteristic has many meanings, all of which can be negative or positive, depending on, of course, what action or noun it is being applied to… to help keep this post short (oh, I am funny!), I’m only going to consider it when discussing my height. And since you really can’t tell from any pictures you’ve seen of me, the answer is… drum roll…

I’m 5’7″ tall, which by most means places me in the short category. Per Wikipedia, the average male height in the U.S. is 5’9″ tall. So short it is… but when you take a step backwards and consider the whole spectrum, I’m really not too far off the middle average. And depending on the crowd of people I’m with, I can still be one of the taller ones. Generally, I feel a little shorter than most people around me, so this isn’t a surprise.

Why is it good?

  • I easily fit into smaller spaces.
  • I just miss hitting my head on the airplane and train upper storage bins.
  • I can hide more easily.

Why is it bad?

  • I can’t see the main stage at concerts, theatre shows, movies, etc. Someone’s head is always bobbing in my way.
  • Clothes never fit right. Smalls are too small and mediums are too big. Shirts always fall too far below my waist. And then I need to go custom for some things or just accept it will always look a little too tight or baggy.
  • People assume you’re weaker or less intimidating. (I’ll ignore this for today as I’ll be posting another day about my strength — I spend lots of time in the gym, so I’m a solidly-packed little powerhouse).
  • I can’t reach the top shelf in the kitchen and refuse to take the extra 30 seconds to get a step stool. So I hop up on to the counter, bang my knees, and then grab whatever I need. And putting it back on the shelf is a whole lotta craziness. If it’s not glass, I’ll throw it in the hopes it makes it safely. I tend to have good aim from years of baseball as a kid.

I’m sure there are more reasons why it is good and why it is bad, but I wanted it to be the first things that come to mind. I’m trying to keep these posts down to less than 30 minutes per day so that I’m using my time wisely. And finding clips, images and formatting is not always easy!

If I had a option to change, I’d want to be a few inches taller, perhaps 6′ feet tall.

  • It’s a round number which I like.
  • It easily rolls off the tongue.
  • I’d rather have my clothes fit more accurately, as it helps with shopping and appearance.
  • I’d be able to reach most things with less impacts.

While appearance isn’t always the primary driver for me, it absolutely is in this case. Even though being taller would help with some things, my preference comes from vanity and less from practicality.

What would you choose?  Taller, Shorter or Exactly the way you are?  Come on, Goldilocks… start sharing!

365 Challenge: Day 22 – Lister

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Lister: a person who typically enjoys creating a number of connected items or names written or printed consecutively, usually one below the other

When I climbed upon my favorite seat on the sofa this morning, to of course begin drafting today’s post, I was a bit distracted at first. After all, it’s Monday, the beginning to a new week… and I didn’t have a list of tasks or things I needed to accomplish. I suddenly felt a bit worried; how will I be effective this week? And that’s when it hit me… I’m a lister! So I searched for the definition and partially to my surprise (partially of course because I was an English major and I am a writer who should know better, tho I do make-up words from time to time… oh, I am way off topic…), the word “lister” is not real! But how do I describe someone who enjoys creating lists and getting things completed in an orderly fashion in just one word. Hence, I am coining my own term for today: LISTER — and the definition is a compilation of a few that I found for “lists” and “creator.”

We all create lists at some point. And to be fair, I’ll even ignore this generally being a required exercise during school and/or work. I’m strictly talking as a way of doing things in our personal lives.

  • Some people only do it when they absolutely have to accomplish a lot and need a “checklist” to ensure they complete everything.
  • Others create the “bucket list” of things to accomplish before they die
  • And some note items they need to pickup at the grocery store or while out shopping

And we’ve all heard of different types of necessary lists:

  • Phone and Address
  • Birthday
  • Santa’s Nice or Naughty — NO *gif* for you… imagine your own video here!
  • PCMASH
    • Do you remember this one? We all did this as kids. You write 6 names of something and then count down until you cross everything out except for 1 of the remaining names, and that will be your future, e.g.
      • P = Penthouse
      • C = Condo
      • M = Mash
      • A = Apartment
      • S = Shack
      • H = House
    • And that’s where you’ll live. But you have about 10 categories to tell your future, e.g. spouse, city, job, # of kids, age to die, etc.
    • Please tell me I’m not the only one!!!

But then there are those of us that are just insane about creating lists for everything. Like me!

  • I write lists each morning of what I need to accomplish. Sometimes I put the expected amount of time, the best order to complete, etc.
  • I draft lists for due dates for inane things that only I care about.
  • I create lists to keep track of who paid for drinks / lunch / dinner / coffee so that when I see them again, I know whose turn it is to pay!

What’s common across all these lists? The feeling I get when I scratch off each item and reduce the remaining tasks. Except… I’m excited, not exicted. Who screwed that up below?

I began wondering why people like lists and went to the NewYorker magazine to find out.  For the full article, check out the link below. But the gist of it said:

“The article-as-numbered-list has several features that make it inherently captivating: the headline catches our eye in a stream of content; it positions its subject within a pre-existing category and classification system, like “talented animals”; it spatially organizes the information; and it promises a story that’s finite, whose length has been quantified upfront. Together, these create an easy reading experience, in which the mental heavy lifting of conceptualization, categorization, and analysis is completed well in advance of actual consumption”

http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/a-list-of-reasons-why-our-brains-love-lists

So what have I learned about myself today? A number of things. I like lists for the following reasons — in alphabetical order — numbered — cleanly for the eyes to see. Lists are:

  1. Accomplished
  2. Captivating
  3. Categorized
  4. Finite
  5. Numerical
  6. Orderly
  7. Spatial

And therefore it is time to go make a list for this week’s things to do. And my bucket list. I should have one of those. I do not. When’s my due date? PLEASE TELL ME!!!! Or I’ll ask Oprah.

365 Challenge: Day 21 – English

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English: containing roots from England

We’ve concluded another week, and on this, the third 365 Challenge Sunday, it’s time to select one of the countries from which my ancestors hail. I’m about 33% English, though Ancestry says my DNA is 81% English; however, those numbers include Irish, and Scottish, which will be next week’s “end-of-the-week” post, thus covering my four primary heritages. But I’m pretty certain at least half of me hails from Great Britain when I look at all the records and the family genes. I am pretty pale, remember! My favorite English last name in my family history: Pantridge. So formal and eloquent.

I’ve been fascinated with the royal families and ascendancy to the thrones of England for years. At one point, I could name most of the Kings and Queens in order, but I’ve forgotten some of those details in recent years. I would love to find out that I descend from one of them, but I highly doubt it’s true. Perhaps Henry VIII’s court jester is my real ancestor!

And in keeping with tradition, I’ve located the Top 10 English traits… but this time, it’s according to the Metro UK news. Let’s see how I fare:

1. Talking about the weather

  • I do often use that as an easy line of conversation, given that I tend to be shy and quiet when it comes to conversing with others. I am fascinated by whether it will be warm or cold, rainy or dry. I hate, loathe and despise hot weather. I prefer the temperature to be a nice 50 degrees Fahrenheit. A good topic for another day!
  • Score: 1 out of 1.

2. Great at queueing

  • Yes! I love lines. It’s the most fair way to ensure those of us who arrive early don’t get left out when a crowd forms. My favorite place for a proper queue is at the airport, but it does not always happen. Each American airline (don’t get me started on other countries’ approach to the ticket counter) calls group by group to queue for an orderly on-boarding to the aircraft. EXCEPT, most Americans (of which I am one) are RUDE (not me, I am orderly). They all just run to the line even though their group hasn’t been called, and then orderly people like me have to ask people to move, step over all their luggage, blah blah blah. Get the @#*& out of my way is what I really want to say. Wait your turn. If you’re group 5, don’t stand right at the beginning of the line. Don’t be an @$$^&*%.  OK, rant done.
  • Score: 2 out of 2.

3. Sarcasm

  • I had a post dedicated to that… remember? Although, someone wise said I am probably more clever, so…perhaps not. But in general, I think the English are sarcastic like I am – never in a cruel way.
  • Score: 3 out of 3.

4. Watching soaps

  • Yes, I must confess. I used to watch a lot of soap operas when I was a teenager, not including prime time soaps. Let’s see if I can remember them: Loving (became The City), Another World, Days of Our Lives, As The World Turns and Guiding Light. I had lots of VCR tapes going while I was in school. And I also had 3 magazine subscriptions to keep me well read when not watching them on TV. Such a LOSER!!!!!
  • Special Kudos to anyone who can name the fake soap opera in the clip below.
  • Score: 4 out of 4.

5. Getting drunk

  • I remember covering this during the Irish post. Are all British drunks? Or is it really just everyone in the world at this point? Yikes. But no, I’m not a drunk. I drink but know when to stop on most occasions.
  • Score 4 out 5.

6. A love of bargains

  • No, definitely not me. I am careful with money, but I am not a bargain shopper. I like to get a discount, and I will usually balance quality and cost when making a purchase, but I always wonder “what’s wrong with this?” when it seems like a bargain.
  • Score: 4 out of 6.

7. A love of curtain twitching

  • I am stumped. What the… is curtain twitching? Let’s Google it……… OK, I’m back. OMG, I would not have guessed this. Seriously? OK, well curtain twitching is “a nosy person who watches his or her neighbours, typically from a curtained window.” AND it uses the British spelling in the word “neighbours.” Laughing so hard, I can only think of one thing. AbFab! Too bad they weren’t actually curtain twitching the neighours in the clip below. But yeah, I’m a little nosy sometimes. Remember curious?
  • Score 5 out of 7.

8. Stiff upper lip

  • Sometimes I do, sometimes I do not. I tend to be pretty strong, but not always. I’m gonna say yes to this one.
  • Score: 6 out of 10.

9. Love of all television

  • I watch TV almost every day. Besides reading, it’s the other hobby I have that involves sitting down a lot. 🙂
  • Score: 7 out of 9.

10. Always saying sorry

  • I used to do this ALL the time. I’m much better about it now, but if I get too close to someone and almost bump them, the first words out of my mouth are “I’m sorry.” It would never occur to me to say “excuse me” or “watch where you’re going!” I always assume it was my fault.
  • Score: 8 out of 10.

And what does this tell me?  I am emblematic of 80% of these things… and that matches the 81% noted above. How am I always so in sync with my DNA? Quite a stumper…

The Blog is Growing!

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When I first started this blog about 6 months ago, I thought it would be an entertaining experience… but somehow in the last few months, I’ve got close to 100 followers and I’m on here posting nearly every day. It’s been really fun and challenging, but ultimately I want it to deliver valuable content, insight and laughter. I’m super excited with the results so far!

Now I need to start adding new content sections. Starting next week, a few posts each week on the following topics:

  1. Book Reviews
  2. TV & Film Reviews
  3. My Book: “Watching a Glass Shatter”
  4. Other Fiction I’ve Written
  5. Vacation Spot Experiences
  6. 365 Daily Challenge
  7. General Blog & Thoughts

What else should I add?

  • More animations?
  • Restaurant Reviews and link to Open Table and FourSquare reviews?
  • More author and book content?
  • Or keep it streamlined as it is now?

Let me know your opinions and let’s see what we can come up with next! Thanks for everyone’s support.

Thanks.

-jjc iv

 

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365 Challenge: Day 18 – Pale

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Pale: light in color or having little color, feeble and unimpressive

What an interesting word… do I mean my skin color is pale, as in light? Do I mean my personality is pale, as in boring? Or do I mean I am pale, as in comparison to others? Perhaps a little of everything… a bit vanilla and plain. But I’m good with that.

Waking up this morning, I realized I drank a bit more than usual last night and felt a little sleepy and lazy. I still pushed myself out of bed and began my day by 7:15. I thought to myself… “40 has hit you! You’re a bit of a lightweight now, eh?” [said with a thick Scottish brogue].

I remember I had 1 mixed drink and 5 or 6 glasses of wine over a 4-hour period. More than normal, more than one should, but not all that significant compared to many others. So, I suppose I do pale in comparison, in those respects.

I got out of bed, threw on some clothes and went to wash my face. When I looked in the mirror, I appeared washed-out… even more pale than usual. Almost like a ghost! Was that really me?

Yes, it was… you see… my skin is really, really light. Not translucent where you can see inside, but often you see the blueish colors of the veins (or is it arteries? wish I remembered high school science stuff) shining right on thru!

I’ve always wanted to have a bit darker skin… to actually have a sun tan; however, if I go anywhere near the sun, I burn within minutes. Probably that English, Irish and Scottish heritage deep within. Did my people just hide away in caves????

But while Stewie is in pain, he at least has a consistent color all about him. When I get caught in the sun, or if I purposely try to hang out on the beach to get a tan from time to time, it is never even. I look like the messiest splotch around. I don’t spread the suntan lotion properly. I’ve had a few cases of farmer’s tan. I’ve even burned just half my face. My skin is not meant to get near the sun. I must have vampire blood in me somehow. And that’s why I say I’m pale. There are some good things about being pale. Dark colors look extra good on me! Umm… can’t think of anything else tho, so maybe it’s not such a good thing.

As noted, pale can also mean bland, boring, vanilla, plain… leaning towards unimpressive and feeble. I’m not sure I agree pale could mean “feeble” but the dictionary says so, which means it must be true. I’m far from feeble… and that’s not thinking of the word in relation to age.

Pale implies ordinary, common. I find that to be a good thing. It means you don’t stand out, whether it’s to get attention or due to some unusual physical characteristic or behavior. I do think of myself (in about 80% of cases) as a bit vanilla and plain. I’m not showy. I’m not extravagant. I like to keep things in the “average zone” so as not to call attention to myself.

But there’s that 20% of me that’s not pale, not average, not ordinary. Most of it is behavioral. Some of it physical. Some you can see. Some you cannot. Some is temporary. Some is permanent. It’s always in flux. But it’s there. And those who know me well, know how and when it comes out.

Those who don’t know me, or meet me in a corporate setting, wouldn’t really notice it. Perhaps if they were intuitive, it might be a bit more obvious to them. I’m certainly not average in lots of areas, but when I am, I am comfortable with it, even if it means I pale in comparison to others. Knowing and accepting who and what you are, faults and all, strengths and all, is a sign of… well, intelligence!

Would I change any of it?

  • Yes to being able to get a bit of sun tan. Not too much as it could lead to cancer and other diseases, but I think having a bit of color is a more healthy look and feel.
  • No to being average. Life’s a balance of so many things, and I don’t want to stand out above others. It doesn’t mean I’m not competitive (that’s very different, and I am very competitive). It just means I’m comfortable with who I am.
  • Yes/No to being boring all the time. A few surprises are a good thing in life, and I have a good balance here most days.

What about you…

  • Do you agree with my self-assessment, those of you who know me?
  • Are you pale?