Showing posts with label ocd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ocd. Show all posts

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Learning to live in the moment

I know I have some tendencies that are very “Type A.” I like answers, concrete details. I like order and organization. I like rules and laws. I like maps and taking the most direct route. I like having a plan.

On the other hand, I am the least “Type A” person in the world. I am not particularly aggressive. I am non-confrontational. I am willing to go along with the flow on most things. I think I am pretty laid back.

My brother and sister would probably say that I am bossy. And when we were younger, I certainly did my share of oldest sister bossing. But in my real life, my adult life, I try to avoid telling anyone what to do -- although, admittedly, it's mostly because I detest being told what to do by others.

It might seem like these two sides of my personality would be contradictory, but I don’t think so: I go along with the flow until I can’t possibly do it anymore. Or, as I said to someone the other day, I reserve my right, as a woman, to change my mind. He thought that was “cute,” but I was dead serious when I said it.

Anyway, these tendencies are on my mind lately as I’m trying more and more to adjust to being happy in the moment, with the way things are -- without necessarily needing rules or definitions or limitations. It’s definitely an adjustment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


On the surface, I am very neat and organized, but underneath the facade, I am, at heart, a pack rat. A collector.

I come by it honestly -- most of my family is the same way. But unlike most of my family, my collections are organized, to say the least. My clothes are in order. My CDs and movies are alphabetized. My tchotckes are all in their assigned spots.

When I was helping my dad out after my mom's funeral, we were looking for some paperwork about the house -- specifically the addition that they had built onto the back. Over the previous Thanksgiving, I had bought my mom a filing cabinet so that she could start putting her stuff in order, but apparently, her version of organization and mine were polar opposites. I eventually found the papers in three different files -- one marked "house," one marked "addition," and the last with no label at all. Other things that I found in those three files included my brother and sister's birth announcements, my bat mitzvah invitation, and a newspaper photograph showing my nursery school graduation.

My files are not like that at all, although I will admit that I have a tote of old pictures and clippings that I have intended to put into scrapbooks for years and just haven't managed to get to yet. But unlike my mom, they are all in one place.

Anyway, when I was packing and cleaning up some stuff, I found that I had a sizable collection of which I was unaware -- a box collection. Alas, they were not the useful packing kind; they were decorative gift boxes. Some were small, some were large, many had interesting closures -- one, from Sephora, was fastened with an elastic band with a feather -- and all of them were stuffed into a dark little corner of my closet -- along with yards and yards of wrapping paper and ribbon.

I don't know why I save boxes -- I almost never use them. And I know I never use them. But I keep doing it. Until tonight, when I stacked as many as I could inside one another and made the trek down the hall to the garbage.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chemistry 101

Last night, I came home from the gym, and, after blogging about it, went to go take a shower, during which I finished a container of face scrub.

So, I had to go find a new thing of face scrub -- which I knew I had in the apartment.

Let me back up -- for some unknown reason, I have a ton of cosmetic-type stuff. I buy stuff, I use it a couple of times, and then I find something else I like better. Then it goes into a cabinet until I'm in desparate need of it, in which case I have to dig it out. One place where I store a ton of stuff is in a very thick heavy-duty plastic container (with a locking lid) under my sink. Most of my facial cleansing products are there. (Hair care products, soaps, lotions, and perfumes each have a slightly different location.)

Anyway, so last night, after my shower, I went to find a facial scrub in this plastic container. When I opened it, I found that pretty much the entire thing was covered in a sticky yellowish goo. A mystery container had leaked.

What was worse was that now the goo was on me, and I had just gotten out of the shower. Not to mention that it was on my bath mat and towels.

In other words, the goo had taken over my bathroom.

As for my evening, ultimately it wound up with a second shower and a load of laundry. But before that, I spent an hour or so cleaning my bathroom. And the container. And each and every item that was in the stupid container.

Of course, that's how I figured out what had leaked.

A couple of months ago, I had bought some very fancy and very expensive serum -- compete with a eyedrop-type disbursal apparatus -- that was supposed to make my skin look younger and firmer and more wrinkle-free while treating breakouts of adult acne. It was a total and complete waste of money, since I do not have wrinkles or particularly old looking skin, and I certainly don't have acne. (The occasional stress or hormone-related breakout, maybe -- but not acne.) But the ad was so convincing. . . .

The serum wound up in the plastic storage container -- where it had tipped over and had eaten its way through the rubber part of its cap. (Melted might be a better description, since when I touched it, the rubber was, essentially, liquid -- and next to impossible to get off my skin!) The serum had also eaten through part of another container which contained facial cleanser -- the mystery yellow goo. So now, I'm wondering exactly just what the hell kind of chemical compound I was putting on my face. If it could eat through plastic . . . .

From now on, I'm only buying stuff from the drugstore.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


The end result of my being out of town for so long is that I still have piles of stuff to go through and put away. Mostly, now, in the apartment, it's piles of mail and piles of laundry. (In the office, it's just mail.)

I saw this article the other day, and I have to admit that I'm just a tad jealous. I wish I could have someone come in and reorganize my clutter. If I actually buy a place, I should probably incorporate these suggestions.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

M&Ms and OCD

I've never been shy about my OCD. Admittedly, it's never been formally diagnosed, but it's one of those things where I know it, and pretty much everyone who knows me knows it -- and as long as it's not posing a risk to me or anyone else, what's the point of getting a doctor's confirmation?

Today, in his chat, Gene Weingarten had a poll asking people to choose their favorite candy from the following choices: Tootsie Rolls, Hershey's Kisses, Milk Duds, Raisinets, M&Ms.

I chose M&M's. (Raisinets would be my least favorite, but only slightly more so than Milk Duds.) I didn't even have to think about it. I love M&Ms. Particularly peanut M&Ms.

Then I read this:

Savannah, Ga. by way of Washington, D.C.: M&M's are clearly the superior candy. Not only are they delicious, but if you're even mildly OCD they can provide good entertainment. I like to eat the green ones first.

Gene Weingarten: You are the third OCD person who has expressed an affinity for m&ms in part because of their sortability.

I find this impossibly... odd.

Hmmm. Could it be that my love of M&Ms has something to do with how I love to put them into piles? So, I decided to do a little experiment. Here, in full color, is a slideshow of how I like to eat M&Ms:

I kid you not: This is what I do with every single package of M&Ms, every single time. (Well, to the extent that "every single time" means "whenever I have the opportunity to take them out of the package and inspect/organize them first.")

Still, I can't help but feeling that the craziest thing about this is that I took the time to take the pictures.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The sweater

When I was a kid, my mom had this sweater that she used to wear around the house. Nothing special, just an oversized ivory cardigan with brown buttons and two pockets. But she wore it almost every day.

It was from Bamberger's. I know this, because, the other day, I found it, on the floor of her closet, tucked in a corner. It was dirty, one of the buttons was loose, and one of the pockets was torn.

I took the sweater -- not in a surreptitious way, unlike, say, how I acquired my dad's army jacket. Instead, I walked out of the closet holding the dirty old thing and boldly announced to my father and my sister and my brother that, if no one had any objections, I was taking it.

My dad and brother looked at me as if I were crazy. My sister asked to see the sweater and, after I handed it to her, she held it for a minute or two, quietly inspecting it. Equally quietly, she announced that it was torn, and folded it up and put it on the couch next to her. When she left to go back to her house for the evening, the sweater was still there.

Leaving it like that was clearly an act of consent.

Last night, upon arriving home, I washed the sweater and then sat on the couch, mending it. It made me feel just a little closer -- a little better.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Last year, around this time, I dismissed the notion of New Year's resolutions. This year, I'm taking a different approach. I'm going to resolve to not make the same mistakes in 2008 that I already made in 2007.

So, in true obsessive-compulsive fashion, here's a list of things that I am going to try my hardest to NOT do again:

I'm sure I'm missing some things, but this seems like a good start.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

How I spend my vacations

Despite my best intentions, I'm simply no good at relaxing. I can't just sit around with a book or the tv and nothing to do. I need to keep my hands busy, my mind busy -- at least while I'm not taking naps and eating cookies.

So, when I come down to visit my parents, even when I tell them how tired I am, and how I need a vacation, and they promise me that I can sleep in and watch tv and sit out by the lake with a book, there's still always some project they need me for. Like the time that my mom needed me to figure out where to hang her artwork. Or the time she needed me to help clean out her closet. Or the time we needed to buy a new computer. Or the time I needed to try fix my dad's laptop. Or the time, two years ago, when I took care of my mom after surgery, and as a result, had the crappiest 30th birthday ever.

Well, you get the picture. So, this week, I told my mom how exhausted I've been from work, and announced my intention to not help with Thanksgiving dinner. And I kept my promise. But then the restlessness set in and instead of relaxing, I've spent my vacation time cleaning and organizing my mom's office, moving furniture, re-organizing some stuff in my dad's office/the guest room, and going through some boxes of my mom's uncle's things that made their way into our house since my mom had to move him into assisted living over the summer. If I'm lucky, tomorrow I'll get to move my mom's computer around, and clean out the office closet.

I wish I had the luxury of time to do these kinds of things in my own house.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Better than counting sheep

After a long couple of days, I'm finally back home. And while it will be good to sleep in my own glorious bed -- I'm hoping that it's sometime in the next few minutes -- there are some things about hotels that are really nice. Like the maid service. And the room service.

One of the underratedly great things about staying in a hotel is that there's always a pen and paper handy. It's a lovely little retro convenience in today's digital age. Even the hotels that are nothing spectacular still leave a small pad of paper by the phone.

This, of course, comes in handy for many reasons.

Anyway, last night, despite my attempt at getting to sleep early so that I was bright eyed and bushy tailed for the long day of work plus return flight home, I was awakened on several occasions by a group of conventioneers having some kind of contest to see who can be the loudest, most annoying drunk, out in the common areas. The last disturbance was at about 2 in the morning (3 Eastern), and I found falling back to sleep particularly challenging. So, I grabbed the pen and paper and started writing random things down. Lists, mostly.

It started with a to-do list. And then a to-pack list. Somehow, the last list -- the one that put me to sleep -- was a list of states, divided into the following eight categories:

  1. States in which I've lived [New Jersey, Florida, Virginia];
  2. States in which I have spent considerable time (a sum total of at least one week) in the last 10 years [New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, Texas, West Virginia, Illinois];
  3. States in which I spent considerable time when I was younger [Massachusetts, New Hampshire];
  4. States in which I have spent at least one night (that I remember) [California, Michigan, Rhode Island, Nevada, Missouri, Georgia, Tennessee, Colorado, Indiana];
  5. States that I saw as a child, but I don't really remember [Vermont, Maine];
  6. States that I saw as a child, but as an adult only sat in the car when the rest of the family went into a casino [Connecticut];
  7. States I have driven or flown through (including those in which I have stopped for food) [Ohio, Arizona, Delaware, Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky, Wisconsin]; and
  8. States that I have never entered for any reason [Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Minnesota, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma].

This exercise -- which reminds me of the map exercise from a while back -- put me to sleep quicker than you can say "Ambien." In fact, I'm getting tired just repeating it here.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November promises

One of these Novembers, I will actually write a novel. And one of these Novembers, I will post on the blog every single day.

But it won't be November, 2007.

It just isn't feasible, considering the amount of work that I need to get done between now and the end of the month. Not to mention that November means taking time off for Thanksgiving.

So, instead, I'm going to make November promises that I can keep.

First, I'm going to promise to blog less, not more. Especially when I'm out of town. I'm sure everyone will miss me, but you'll get over it. And in return, I'll strive for quality, not quantity.

Second, I'm going to watch more tv. After all, it is November sweeps. This, of course, includes finally watching the Freaks and Geeks box set, so that I can get around to watching my new DVDs of My So-Called Life and the third season of Veronica Mars. Plus, all that tv will keep me out of trouble when I'm in random hotels in random cities.

Of course, the down side of this is that it'll probably mean less time in the gym, but -- here's the fun part -- I DON'T REALLY CARE!

I also promise to do something about the piles of mail on my desk -- both at home and at work.

And finally, I'm going to promise to not be sad or morose on my birthday. I'm going to treat it just like any other busy work day -- although I'm hoping that it'll be the kind of day that ends in yellow cake with chocolate frosting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The diet starts again, tomorrow

I was so good at dieting for so long, but I've been cheating on my diet nonstop since Friday night. Here, in chronological order, are the bad things that I have eaten.

1. Cornbread;
2. Chili;
3. Breadsticks;
4. Mrs. Fields oatmeal raisin cookie;
5. Half of my mom's brownie;
6. Pizza;
7. Mini quiche;
8. Penne in vodka sauce;
9. Wedding cake;
10. Colored rock sugar;
11. Mints;
12. Rye toast;
13. Plain M&Ms;
14. Pizza and cheesesticks;
15. Special K bar;
16. Brown rice;
17. Milk chocolate Hershey bar with almonds;
18. Leftover pizza and cheesesticks;
19. Special K bar;
20. Wild rice;
21. Peanut M&Ms;
22. Linguine with mushrooms;
23. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup; and
24. Kit Kat.

(Amongst these unhealthy things I have had a total of three salads, a few bites of steak, and a crabcake.)

It should surprise no one when I admit that I feel like total crap. I'm sure it's because I've gotten so used to not eating junk food that my body can't handle it anymore -- at least not all at once or in these kind of quantities.

So, I am done with the junk food, as of right now. I will not be buying candy tomorrow, even if it is on clearance. I will not be eating any candy that anyone brings into the office or even into my apartment. And I am totally over pizza and pasta.

White flour and sugar are, once again, the enemy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

New theory

Today, in the ladies' room, I somehow managed to get liquid soap all over my silk blouse. I think I just pressed on the lever too hard, but I'm not entirely sure. All I really know is that, all of a sudden, I was covered in soap, and I wound up pretty much hand-washing my blouse while I was still wearing it.

Luckily, it was about 100 degrees outside, so it dried pretty quickly, and I only looked dumb for a few minutes.

Anyway, while I was washing my shirt, I caught one of the secretaries in my office exit the ladies' room without washing her hands. To me, this is exceptionally gross.

You see, I wash my hands a lot -- probably 10 times a day. I also use antibacterial hand sanitizers and hand lotion. It's one of my germaphobic quasi-OCD quirks.

But today I realized that, despite the obsessive cleanliness, I get sick more often than I would like -- more often than a lot of my coworkers.

So maybe my cleanliness prevents me from developing the appropriate resistance to germs. Kind of like the allergy theory -- kids that are not exposed to allergens are more likely to have allergies and asthma.

It's almost reverse logic.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Plan of Attack

I am very much looking forward to the Virgin Festival. And, while calling it the highlight of my summer might be overreaching a bit -- as of right now, it's the truth.

Based on the schedule, this is my plan:

11:45 am: Arrive at Pimlico.
12:00 pm: Arrive at North Stage. Watch Fountains of Wayne, Cheap Trick, and some Amy Winehouse. If that sucks, head over to South Stage for some Paolo Nutini.
4:45 pm: Back to North Stage for Ben Harper, Beastie Boys and The Police.
9:50 pm: If The Police don't play an encore, rush over to South Stage to see 10 minutes of Modest Mouse, hoping that maybe they'll play an encore.
10:30 pm: Drive back to D.C.

12:30 pm: Arrive at Pimlico. Debate whether to go see Regina Spektor at the North Stage or Matisyahu at the South Stage. Flip a coin to make decision.
2:25 pm: North Stage, for Spoon, Panic! At the Disco, Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Maybe go to the South Stage early, to see some Wu-Tang Clan (but probably not).
7:15 pm: Make it to the South Stage for Velvet Revolver. On the way, perhaps stop by the Dance Tent for The Crystal Method.
8:30 pm: Get back to the North Stage for The Smashing Pumpkins. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and do not waste any time with 311. Even if they do play a decent cover of The Cure's Lovesong.
10:30 pm: Drive back to D.C. Complain about how tired and sunburned I am, and how much it's going to suck to have to get up for work in the morning.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Absentminded Obsessing

This morning, I told my mother/real estate advisor that I'm not used to obsessing about anything nearly as much as I've been obsessing over the potential purchase of a condo. She laughed when I said, "Usually when I tell people I have OCD, it's the compulsive part that I'm talking about."

Of course, it's the confluence of both tendencies that would explain the spreadsheet I made of every single condo that I've looked at over the past week.

This morning, I was so involved in my obsessing that I got on the wrong train on the way to work. I figured it out pretty quickly, though -- but by that point it was easier to ride all the way to Metro Center to change to the red line, rather than backtrack to the Pentagon. Of course, then I got lost in my own thoughts again, and at Metro Center, I got on the train heading in the wrong direction.

I've been taking the metro to work for one week shy of seven years, and I've never done that before. Never. Not even when I changed jobs, and started having to go in the opposite direction from what I had been doing for over five years.

I was 45 minutes late for work because of my absentmindedness. (Normally, I'm only 15 minutes late, ha ha.)

The good news is that I'm narrowing down my decision. The bad news is that, no matter what I wind up doing, my next obsession is going to be over my finances.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Concert t-shirts

Admittedly, I have a lot of clothing. I have a particularly large collection of t-shirts. And when Pop Candy ran an article about favorite concert t-shirts, I realized that I had a lot to choose from. And since my cable box is busted -- I won't get the replacement until Saturday -- I had some time to think about it.

This one's my favorite, hands down:

Go figure.

This is a close second, though:

And those aren't even my only U2 t-shirts:

I even have a U2 crew t-shirt that I bought for my brother, back when he was going through a phase where he liked to wear employee shirts from places that he did not work. But I never did give it to him.

The second-largest number of t-shirts are from the Goo Goo Dolls. But that makes sense, considering that I've probably seen them the most of any band. Heck, I saw them four times on the same tour -- but I only bought one t-shirt then, and it's the one I cut up:

I'm pretty sure that I had another one -- a white t-shirt -- but I can't find it.

Next, I have two Beatles shirts:

Admittedly, I wasn't around to go to these concerts. But they still count, right?

After that, in alphabetical order, AC/DC, Bon Jovi, Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, the Doors, Pearl Jam, and Poison:

So, that's my collection of concert tees. It's only a small portion of a vast collection, though. Maybe later I'll post pictures of my four different CBGB's t-shirts.

Update: I sent the picture of my favorite in to Pop Candy, and they posted it.