Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gen X and Beyond Needs to get on the Bandwagon with Texting

So all of my friends are texters. I remember my first text. It was back in 2002, and I was the recipient. My phone had some unidentifiable symbol, which I couldn't get rid of. I showed my friend, and she was like, "Duh - you have a text..." Since then, I can say that I do a lot more texting than talking. 

When I was at the cell phone store in November, the salesperson told me I had sent 697 texts the last month alone. Because of this, I no longer have to charge my phone nightly. There are days when I don't even talk on it. You can make plans, send suggestive messages, and text fantastic announcements through this cell phone trend. 

Let me explain the beauty of a text because some older folks ask why we don't pick up the phone and call the person. In today's "busy" world, where people are always complaining about how overbooked they are, nobody returns phone messages. If I have exciting news to tell my friend in D.C., I would prefer to not take the time out of our "hectic" little lives, and spend hours on the phone. With a simple message of "Did you hear so-and-so is preggers?" is much easier. I can do it while I am writing my blog, watching my nephew or walking the dog.

Besides being fast and easy, it is a very polite way of keeping all parties happy. If I am out of town visiting friends I rarely see, and my parents are trying to reach me, I feel the need to not take any time away from my friends. Our time is precious. A simple, "I am visiting friends. Will call you tomorrow night" is a courteous way of not ignoring my parents, and keeping my friends satisfied with our short time together. 

I am blessed with parents who know how to text. I can see that more and more Gen Xers and beyond are learning the art of it. Although my generation is 100% into the world of text, a lot of people don't see the beauty in the simplicity of saving yourself from returning those dreaded calls. 

I know it is very casual for many people. In real estate, I did receive counter offers via a text message, so get on board, and join in! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Your Relationship Isn't Really About the Two of You

Here you are, or at some point, you have been in a romantic partnership. You have issues. Everyone does. Whether your problems are based on who does more housework, or you not being supportive of your partner going back to school, issues are always going to be there. However, if you dig deep enough, and analyze these matters, they aren't always about this dichotomy.

In an argument with Mr. Right Now, our disputes always resolve around the same thing. Every time. But this is not all about him and me. In the room (or car, or grocery store, or hiking trail,) there is my family, and his. What I mean by this, is that "our" quarrels are mostly a result of the family issues we had, have, and are working on.

As an example, let's just say you are dating someone who has brains, but his noggin was never recognized. He wants to prove himself, and in order to do that, he puts you down. So, his parents belittled him, making him feel incompetent, and because of this, he corrects you constantly. Now he feels better about himself. And now, you feel like crap. You feel this way as a result of his parents never giving him the confidence he needed, which you are not used to. Your relationship gets too crowded and perplexing. Right now, you have your boyfriend and his parents and their condescending behavior towards him all coming down on you.

I don't know anyone who hasn't had some sort of turning point in their life. Every one of my friends has had something - the loss of a sibling, rehab, divorce, becoming estranged from family members, alcoholism, illnesses, etc. We all go through hard times. But when entering a relationship, these hardships become the baggage that is brought into the romance - like it or not.

Watching an episode on DVD of "This American Life" recently, (yes, they actually make a television program of it), a woman pointed something out, that is forever implanted in my head, about her relationship with her boyfriend. She said that your issues come out when you are dating someone. Now isn't that the truth? These tribulations that we all have are enlarged and in turn, we are forced to look at them dead on.

My battles vary from being fearful of getting married and "settling" to identifying with a religion. I wasn't just born with this. I didn't wake up one day and start freaking out about the concept of marrying someone, and spending the rest of my life with them. These stem from my experiences, and are brought to my attention specifically when I am dating, especially because I am very vocal about my opinions (in other words, I am opinionated).

I'll be the first one to admit that I am a serial monogamist. So, I never get a break from my issues... From what I have seen, you have to keep in mind that their family history will become your baggage. What I mean by this, is that most of their problems have evolved from their upbringing. It can get pretty congested between the two of you....

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Our Age Conscious Culture

Tuesday, a vivacious, animated, and youthful man will become president of the United States. Forget his race for a minute, and consider his age and his vigorous aura. Historically, I believe the presidents of the United States have been been on average, about 55 years old. Is it because our culture is so age obsessed, that we now lean towards younger leaders?

McCain was ridiculed for his age. Perhaps to gain some popularity, many will tell you that not only did he select a female running mate on purpose, but a youthful one, more importantly.

Obama became an icon for young peers. He quickly gained acceptance by high school and college aged kids, like he was the latest trend in the music industry.

The topic of age comes up quite often. For some reason, I have always been age curious. And I can probably tell you how old you are today, if you told me how old you were in 1985, because I don't forget ages. For whatever reason, I am obsessed with age. And it's not even older adults who I am curious about. I ask younger people, as well. Don't take it personally. I am not being nosy. I am interested and I register this info.

We are trained to make statements, like, "I am getting old" or "That makes me feel old." Realistically, do you feel this way? I don't. I always feel hesitant to contact any alumni from my alma maters because when I sign an e-mail, "Class of ....," they always respond with their year, followed by, "I'm old." Now, I doubt they really believe this, but isn't that what we are supposed to say? I caught myself saying it the other night. Something along the lines of "I'm going to be 29 in March. Does that sound old?" Then, I think I followed up with something like, "It's not old at all." (I did ask my mom to get me some anti-aging eye cream for my last birthday...)

I don't think this fascination with not growing more mature is such a bad thing. People who are following the anti-aging lifestyle are improving their health, and living longer lives. I feel the same as I did when I was 16. In fact, I probably feel about 100 times better.

Is there really meaning behind the "I'm so old" declaration?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Another Wisconsin Weekend

Winter is probably going to be here through the end of March, at least. This week is frigid. Thursday is a high of negative five. Today was only a high of 16. It's something I am used to. What is so great about Madison is that there are still plenty of outdoorswomen/men who remain outside.

As I have always loved winter, I say the best way to get through it is to utilize it. This past weekend, I put my cross country skis to use by visiting Mecan River Lodge, in Princeton, Wisconsin. This is about an hour north of Madison. The lodge features guest rooms, a restaurant, a store, ski rentals, and ten miles of ski trails (they also have kayaking, hunting, sleighs, etc.) Although only a high of about 20 on Saturday, it was a sunny and snowy day. The texture of the snow was perfect for cross country skiing. Before entering the woods, you are in an open field. Once you are in the forest, the surroundings are natural and, at times, breathtaking. Because there are a lot of pines, the woods is not as bare as you would expect, due to the time of year. At the end of the trail, you pass up the barn, and can watch the cows grazing up close. It was so peaceful. I can still hear the quietness of the snowy morning (even if it is an oxymoron).

Princeton has a great little down town area with some pretty hip shops. Although a very small place, I understand that some of the shop owners have come from larger cities to have a quieter experience in this community.

After skiing, we sat in the Waterfront Grill in Green Lake, Wisconsin, overlooking the lake. Now, you have to understand that anywhere you go in Wisconsin that has a frozen lake is currently occupied by ice fishers, sitting in their ice shelters. After martinis, we walked across the ice. A weird feeling, knowing that you are walking on a frozen lake.

Now, I walk to a lot of places around town, so I have mastered the art of what to wear when it is below zero: leggings, with a pair of pants on top, a shirt, a turtle neck, a sweater, a scarf, a hat, a heavy winter jacket with a hood, and mittens. UGG boots are a must. They feel like slippers, and you do not need to wear socks with them. Whoever invented UGGS is a genius. I did not want UGGS because I understand that while not in Madison, in many other cities, they are already on their way out of style. I don't care. They are so darn cozy. After walking on the ice, in most of my usual uniform, I could not warm up.

So, my friend and I took it upon ourselves at around 8:45 that evening to run the trail we had skied in the morning, although it was about zero degrees, so that we could warm up. Well, it worked. And we did it in our UGGS. With the moon closer to the earth, it appeared much larger, and provided almost enough light for our run through the woods, although we did have a flashlight. The snow sparkled off the reflection of the moon. With that much light, it was a fearless run, and we got hot.

Try to enjoy the cold months, if you can!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Best Way to Judge a Person is By Their Feet (So Look Down)

In the past ten years, I would say there are a few women (whose opinions I happen to value) who have told me that you can judge a guy by his shoes. I never understood it, because, of course, I didn't pay enough attention to "modish" shoes, nor did I pay enough attention to any one's feet.

I remember interviewing someone when I worked in my HR related job. My boss told me after the candidate left, "Her suit was nice, but her shoes were inappropriate." Although you all know that I am image conscious and pay attention to fashion, I hadn't noticed this woman's "inappropriate" footwear. I just don't look down there. "I didn't see what she had on," I told my boss. "Oh, they were strappy, black, heels," she told me. Hmmm.... Maybe I should be paying better attention to what goes on below the waist, if you know what I mean.....

I always make sure to look nice before going out. I pluck my eyebrows, get them waxed, if need be, style my hair, apply make-up, shower sometimes twice a day, shave my legs on a daily basis (you never know when you are going to sport a skirt), keep my nails short and shapely, or if long, have a manicure, and so on. This morning, as I was blow drying my hair, I wondered what I would look like if I just "let myself go." If I just rolled out of bed - no workout, no weights, no hair styling, no make-up, no plucking. God, I don't want to think about it.

The reason I thought about this is because last night, I took off my socks, and was embarrassed for myself at how "untended to" my feet looked. They look worse than many due to weather and running. I hadn't polished the nails since October. "Oh My God. If someone was judging me by my feet, they would think I was a complete slob," I thought to myself. I grabbed the pumice stone, smoothed them out (like a baby's bottom), applied some lotion, manicured the nails, you get the hint. In the summer, I always make sure they are in tip top shape, but in the winter, I let them go. No more.

If someone is going to judge me from bottom up, I am going to make sure that everything is looking good. Why does this matter, if nobody sees your feet in the winter? I think it's a mental thing. You feel better. I have decided not to let any part of me go, regardless of the time of the year. (One of my friends who is a "shoe judge" is also disgusted by feet....)

Now think about how your feet look? And your shoes? I just looked down at mine. Although fashionable and almost knee high over my skinny jeans, they are salt drenched. I would never wear these out in Cleveland. They make me look like I don't maintain things - an impression I never wanted to give off as a real estate agent. (I am more about functionality in Madison).

And for the men's shoes - I have improved tremendously on what I find to be"acceptable." Especially now that I live in Madison. What I think is "cool" is my opinion, and you are entitled to your own taste. I like Converse, Skechers, and Diesel Paradis. Man Sandals are intolerable. As are any white shoes. Awful.

Keep in mind that while I may not be working my way from the bottom up, a lot of people are, so keep the feet area maintained to sustain your reputation....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture

It seems these days that everyone knows someone who belongs to a CSA. A CSA is a social and economic plan between households and local farmers where the people will pay the farmers before a specific season to have food delivered to the CSA's members on a weekly basis, while the farmer's produce is in season. Sometimes one member will drive to the farm weekly to pick up the food, then have all of the participants pick up their orders at a convenient location. There are various ways to do this. This is a fantastic way to keep your money in your city.

In Madison, there are various CSAs. Obviously, I couldn't join one when I moved here because the season usually goes from June until November, and I moved here in July. Also, a lot of single people will tell you that it is difficult enough to grocery shop for one, so I will probably forgo joining one this year. My other great dilemma, (which is a very good problem to have, may I add), is that I love going to the farmer's market. If I did the CSA, I wouldn't feel the need to buy anything at the market. Now, my witnesses will tell you that I hardly buy anything at the market as it is. As much as I like to cook, I have to be in the right mood, and my cabinets and refrigerator do most commonly resemble a bachelor's kitchen - minus the Chinese food containers.

As of now, there are thirty-four farms serving the Madison CSAs, supported by Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition, and a lot of them are certified organic. My understanding of the organic certification is that the farmers have to jump through a lot of hoops to receive this official recognition, and many of them do not use any chemicals, but do not feel the need for the organic acknowledgement, so, it is sustainable, and you know where your food is coming from.

We all know about the spinach epidemic that occurred in 2006. I believe the culprit was out of California. This made me think to myself, "It's pretty scary that my food is being transported from mystery places, by unknown people." Many locals support Community Supported Agriculture for the purpose of food safety, in addition to the socioeconomic benefits.

Although very popular in Wisconsin, as we do have a ton of farms around here, it is common in most places around the United States, but started in the 1960s in Europe and Japan, partially because people feared for their agricultural land.

My sister started a CSA in her neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, this past summer (2008). She found the farmer and recruited a plethora of neighborhood families to join in. Her accomplishment landed her in the "Top Ten in 2008 " (Number One, no less!) of happenings in her neighborhood. The group she started became so well-liked, that there is a waiting list of people who are hoping to be 2009 supporters. Check out her CSA website.

So, even if you aren't in the middle of a cow mecca, you know that there probably is a way for you to keep your locals in business, and not worry about food contamination. See if there is a CSA or local farmer in your area. If my sister can do it in a metropolis, surely you can support one from wherever you are.

Friday, January 2, 2009

What I did in 2008

Happy New Year. To me, it's just another day. I am sure you all agree. In my opinion, resolutions are useless. I feel they can be started at any time of the year, not specifically on the first of the year. However, I would like to document my accomplishments from 2008, because sometimes I feel like I am a waste of space.

So, here goes. First, I am proud of my blog, which has been featured on, and has grown into a real hobby for me. I can see that you people enjoy reading it, and I know, as many of you have shared with me, that you don't always agree with "Janie Theories..."

My running has improved. I was never trying to go for speed, but I can now run under eight minute miles. I completed a five mile race in forty minutes. I am in my third consecutive year of running about 25-30 miles a week.

My real estate business grew. Regardless of the economy, my business in Cleveland improved, landing me in the top twenty-three percent in sales out of my office at the closing of the year, even though I left town half way through the year.

I made the big move to Madison. I got a refreshing start, 500 miles away from what was "home." I have really explored the city. Made wonderful friends. I am closer with my Madison family than ever before. Thank You, everyone. We have all made some memories together.

I completed my second year of tutoring in the Cleveland City Schools, recruiting several other adults to volunteer. This is something I need to do in Madison. More to come...

I was able to volunteer and help elect our new president! Very exciting.

There are a lot of things I am working on, internally. But these are not resolutions. Let us all have a happy 2009. And if you don't do anything else, please exercise and support your local stores.