Friday, May 30, 2008

Kathleen on Obsession

I'm a strong believer in moderation. So I want to talk about obsession today, and not the perfume. The behavior. I'm hoping others have some habits that they've become a bit obsessive about. I want to feel normal. I'm looking for some blogger therapy.

I'm not sure what the differences are among anal retentive behavior, compulsive behavior, and obsessive behavior. We joke about being anal retentive, so that's probably the one that's the least attractive. I know a bit about the theory--the normal development through the stages from oral to anal to genital--genital?--well it's been a while since I studied this stuff--retention. At the end we're supposed to be balance. But being stuck in the anal stage seems funny. We joke about it. Contains the word anal. So I don't think I'm that since I don't know how to be funny.

But I do seem to become obsessive sometimes. Take recycling. It's a good thing, and we do it in the Eagle's nest. Well, I do it, and they go along. But they throw things away that should go into recycling. The city keeps adding to the list of the kind of paper, containers, etc., that can be recycled, and I try to keep up. They don't. So I find myself moving things around all the time. Snatching stuff out of hands that are reaching toward the trash compactor. And don't think I can do this without repeating the list of things that don't go in there. They say I'm obsessing. I know I'm doing the right thing. At least, I have the right idea.

Then there are the soup labels and box tops. I used to save the soup labels when my kids were in school, and then I saved them for a friend who was collecting them for one of the Indian boarding schools, but I was kinda glad when she stopped because I needed to stop pulling the cans out of recycling to make sure I hadn't missed a label.

Then my granddaughter started kindergarten, and I was back at it. Now it's box tops and labels, and they're on so many products! This is a good thing, right? Except that I've begun to remove the labels when I get the stuff home, which leaves a hole in the bread bags, which means I have to add an extra bag, usually a zip-lock, which means I'm adding to my refuse footprint if I don't reuse, which means saving that stuff, which means....I'm obsessing. Plus, I'm shopping for labels and box tops because I'm glad somebody's supporting education these days, but so often they're on processed foods, and I'm now reading ingredients lists obsessively trying to avoid high fructose corn syrup (Thanks a lot, Michele!) and it takes me hours to get through the grocery store. Am I adding paranoia to my problems? Hellllp!

What do you obsess about? Please don't say you don't. I really want to be normal.


Kathleen Eagle said...

I've had a terrible time with the 'net this morning, and even though I had my post all ready to go, I couldn't get it posted in a timely matter. Yeesh! Technology R not moi.

I swear I wasn't sleeping in this morning after fellow (a bit younger) Riders Helen and Michele kept me up way past my bed time. We were saying goodbye to Michelle Buonfiglio, who's moving soon. Believe me, we hate hate hate to see her go. So we hung on until the waiter who looked a bit like Gene Wilder gave us the foot tapping, raised eyebrow, watch checking routine. (Hey, we tipped him well.) Haven't been out that late in a while. Ah, girl talk. Nothin' like it.

Debra Dixon said...

As far as obsession goes, we all "pick our poison."

I'm not a great recycler, mostly because our city service for recyling sucks. Our area didn't get on board when they started it and now no one can figure out when they are supposed to come and we we try they don't pick the stuff up, etc. So, I'm over, way over, about obsessing over recycling. I do my part by trying to buy green.

I obsess over quilting, over perfection in the project. I'm okay if I don't achieve it but I put in obsessive hours that other people might not put in because I really really want it to be a certain way.


Betina Krahn said...

Kathy-- hey, at least your obsessions are constructive! And one person's obsession is another's couldn't-care-less. Families have to rag on each other, and mothers are always a prime target.

My mom --God love her-- used to carry honey, butter, condiment packets, extra rolls and even the little pillow mints from check-out registers out of restaurants with her. We'd find them in her pockets wee, months later. A major squirrel, my mom. Loved little "one use size" portions.

My kids used to roll their eyes. Then one car trip when they were in high school and college, I picked up an extra (and very nice) packet of honey I had been served with my breakfast and the boys started in on me. I was suddenly "just like Gran." I was horrified. And hurt. And they still razz me about it to this day.


At least I never made them make toilet paper "nests" on the seats when we stopped at public rest rooms!

Come to think of it. . . I'm kinda obsessed with clean toilets. Very picky. Probably all Mom's fault.

Michele Hauf said...

Your grandchildren will appreciate your new obsession to avoid the high fructose corn syrup, Kathy, but I'm with you on the slow grocery run because reading labels has become very important.

We obsess about recycling too. Even the Hubby does it now, which never ceases to amaze me. He actually picked a #5 plastic out of the wrong bin the other day and complained that someone wasn't on the ball (that would be moi).

Curbside only recycles #1 and 2 plastic, but our city takes 1-6. So once a month we pack off a bit tub of #4-6 and haul it to the city. Love that they've started doing that.

Playground Monitor said...

I recycle what the city will pick up curbside. And I've started using less paper products at home (i.e. using rags to clean with instead of paper towels, using cloth napkins instead of paper).

And labels -- I saved those soup labels religiously for my boys' school and I still cannot make myself throw one away. So I give them to one of the Playfriends for her daughter's school. I save the boxtops too, and bless the DH's heart, he's even started tearing the thing off his granola box when he finishes it.

Maybe if folks had become more obsessive years ago, we wouldn't be facing some of the environmental crises we are.

The HFCS seems to be the latest thing to avoid. Let's see -- sodium, nitrates (or is that nitrites?), high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, refined sugar and flour. It's just the DH and me, but it takes forever to shop and it costs a fortune. Eating well is expensive. But the alternative is poor health. I was at the doctor's office for somehting yesterday and mentioned my worries about my heart (my dad died from a massive coronary at 48). The doc turned to my last set of cholesterol figures and just beamed. He said he wished everyone had my good results. I came away feeling a lot better.


Helen Brenna said...

I obsess over recycling too, but I've never thought about it as being "obsessive." I see it as responsible behavior.

I probably obsess over healthy habits - vitamins, working out, sunscreen, but I'm not sure that I go overboard on it.

Hmm, maybe I obsess AND in denial over it. Yeah, I like that.

As has already been said, at least this is constructive. Obsess away, Kathy!

Cindy Gerard said...

I obsess a bit over routines. I have to do certain things each morning before I start writing. Maybe you could call them rituals but mostly I think they are just habits I've fallen into.
Food is also a bit of an obsession. I luvs it :o)

Kathleen Eagle said...

You and me, Marilyn. My daddy died of a massive coronary at 48, too. My cholesterol was great but for one number--the bad, I think--which was borderline. I'm doubling up on the oatmeal and--sniff--cutting back on ice cream. Been using the low fat variety, but it had become a nightly indulgence. Okay, maybe a bit of an obsession. I start craving it around 7:00 and can't stop thinking about it until I have some.

Betina, I purposely didn't mention any of my bad obsessive behavior. I struggle with control freakism. If I'm recycling every bit of recyclables, everyone else in the house should be doing it, too. No! Don't throw that milk jug cap away! That's worth a pencil!

And those little packets of ketchup...When there's extra in the fast food bag, I have a hard time throwing it away. Eventually I do, but there are usually a few in the cupboard.

I knew a guy--used to meet weekly with a small church group for breakfast--who always pocketed a few jelly square thingies before he left the restaurant. I think Depression era folks are conscientious about food.

The way things are going, we might soon be asking them for survival tips.

flchen1 said...

Kathleen, relax, you're amongst other obsessers :) I am less insane about recycling every last little scrap now, but have definitely been known as a recycling fanatic to friends who now know to set aside a separate container at get-togethers for the cans and bottles.

We do the box tops here, too, but I try not to cut stuff out until the thing's empty--it's too much for me if I have to find another bag/container for things!

But what I truly obsess about is uh... books. I have an enormous TBR, but keep collecting, and if I read an author and like her, I have to have her complete backlist... which can mean trolling eBay and the like... not a pretty scene ;)

I SHOULD be more obsessive about high-fructose corn syrup, but I'm not yet... yikes!

lois greiman said...

I obsess about evvvveryyyything.

Thanks for obsessing about recycling, K.

AuthorM said...

Hmmm. I had to think what I obsess about. And I couldn't think of I obsessed about the fact I couldn't find something I obsess about.

I think that means I obsess about everything.


Chris M. said...

I am just like flchen1... I obsess over my books. My TBR pile is in danger of collapsing and crushing one of my children, and I just can't seem to care that I haven't read all of the ones I already have if one of my authors puts out a new book.... I HAVE TO GO AND GET IT! I may not read it right away (although some authors I WILL read immediately) but it will make me feel so much better that I have that book in my pile.

I obsess about my DHs safety until he walks through the door each day... I obsess that my kids are going to decide that today is the day that they just don't want to walk to school, and wouldn't it be nice if they could just go play today... I obsess that I'll never vacuum enough to get rid of all the DOG HAIR! Wow... I guess I obsess alot.

See, Kathleen... you're not the only one!