Archive for August, 2009

Smiley face.

I sign up for websites like it’s my job. Whenever I find a site mildly interesting, I create an account. I have so many online profiles and passwords and usernames, and I lose track of most of them, but some are kind enough to send me regular emails reminding me that I’m a member of their communities. One of those is Mint.com, which I actually think would be a useful site if I weren’t already obsessed with checking all of my financial accounts myself several times a day. Turns out I don’t need a site to do it for me! Another is SparkPeople.com, which I also think has the potential to be useful, and I did use it for a few days — recording my calories and exercise and setting goals for myself — but it takes time to keep that up, and, well, I don’t even find the time to update my blog!

Today I got an email from SparkPeople with the quote “A smile is a curve that can set a lot of things straight” by some V. Borge. Should I know who that is? SparkPeople’s commentary, called “The power of a positive face,” is:

Have you ever contemplated how much a smile can change a person’s day? Both the person who smiles and the one who sees it are positively impacted by such a small act. This seemingly tiny reflex can perk up a bad attitude, make you seem more warm and inviting, and often pass some happiness on to others. So the next time your alarm goes off for your 5 a.m. run or your dog barks in the middle of the night, smile instead of grumbling. You’d be surprised how a positive face can in turn become a positive and motivational attitude!

With a very few and unmemorable exceptions, I have not thrown up since I was about 11 and ate too many Little Debbie Suzie Q cakes while my parents were out and then became worried that they weren’t home yet and worked myself into a tizzy, both emotionally and physically. I haven’t been able to eat a chocolate snack cake since! I hate vomiting so much that I decided I would cultivate an ability to avoid it, at will, the way my little brothers’ friend James could will himself to vomit whenever he ate ice cream. I would just will myself not to vomit!

It worked, guys. There have been times, not to get into too much detail (salt water flush!), when the best thing for my body would’ve been to just have a little purge, but it was never anything vigorous swallowing and a cold compress couldn’t work around. And when all else seemed destine to fail, there was my secret weapon: the smile.

I read somewhere once, and I think it’s true, that smiling releases endorphins that tell your brain you’re happy. It’s cyclical, see: You are happy, so you smile, which reinforces to your brain that you’re happy! But my theory is that it doesn’t have to be cyclical. If all I have to do to release those endorphins is smile, and if being happy means I’m not vomiting, then all I have to do not to vomit is smile! This has lead to many episodes of Rebecca, as queasy as all get out, sporting the biggest forced grin on her face, standing in front of a mirror because surely visual recognition that I’m smiling will further convince my brain that I’m way too happy to throw up.

All to say that lately, there’s been no force necessary. I am so happy! Things are falling into place in most aspects of my life, and what minor hurdles or setbacks they are (such as locking myself into my apartment for a few hours last night) are quickly replaced by all-natural smiles at how easy and pleasant my life is.

A quick sampling of things that are making me happy lately:

  • my cat, who follows me around the apartment wherever I go and attacks my ankles less and less each day and loves nothing more than to sit at a window and watch bugs fly by (tonight he saw another cat out there! so exciting!)
  • the discovery of an amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurant around the corner from me called “The Islands” that serves up the most delicious jerk chicken and ox tail with rice and beans (yes, I eat rice and beans now, which would have come in very handy in the DR and Nicaragua, where I swallowed a lifetime’s worth of beans down whole with swigs from my Nalgene to avoid gagging in front of host families)
  • the return of “Mad Men” and, soon, other good television
  • that Chris is as devoted to bad television (“The Real World,” for example) as I am
  • Zip Car, which provided Chris and me with the means to make a Sunday afternoon trip to a very crowded Brooklyn Costco, where I played the part of an adult very well and spent over $400 on household items and wholegrain pasta
  • everything about playing house and preparing this apartment for Chris’s impending move-in
  • open windows, which I resisted for so long but have finally admitted do, in fact, cool an apartment down on a hot, muggy New York day
  • going out for spur-of-the-moment drinks on a Saturday night with friends in walking distance (well, Chris’s roommates, but Chris does live in walking distance)
  • that puppy
  • Settlers of Catan (if you haven’t played this yet, I’m sorry to tell you that your life can not possibly be complete)

Are the items in this list too simple?  Too mundane?  I guess it doesn’t take much to make me happy.  Smile away!


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Puppy love.

I just spent the last two hours organizing my Facebook. I log into Facebook about once a week and rarely spend much time there, but something happened this past weekend (hint, it involved a puppy) that made me want to get some photos and videos up there and fast. And the thing about Facebook? It’s like a mini version of the larger Internets in that one thing leads to another leads to another leads to another. I’ve just commented on a dozen photos, most of which are months, even years, old. Obviously, these were pressing matters, and that’s why I’m up till 2:30 in the morning.

I will address this puppy in full later, but if you’re eager to have your heart melt right out of your chest, here’s a preview:


And the gran finale:

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