Tuesday, February 27, 2007
I was used to watching nothing but The Golden Girls reruns whenever I wandered toward the television. After Friends ended...well, I suppose my TV-watching spirit died a little...but, hey? Who's didn't? I quickly adjusted to minimal TV viewing, and used it more as a distraction than anything, hence why I chose to watch a sitcom whose script I probably know start to finish, season-1 to season-x.
But then came an increased awareness of this thing called High Definition TV. I've become a snob, and have a hard time watching The Golden Girls because they appear so grainy...what is the monstrously-sized blob lording over the left of the screen with the thundering voice? Oh, it's Dorothy. Of course. (I love you, Bea Arthur, I really do!)
But I find it ironic that with the multitude of cable packages that Nick pays for every month, there are but a handful channels that I even consider. The graphics artist in me appreciates the beauty in the flawless picture (yes, I intend to make this sad observation intellectual if not artistic), and fumes even further as another CSI episode clarifies a blurred image by ADDING PIXELS FROM THIN AIR. The life of a graphics artist so belittled. That's totally why I traded it all for an entry level position at the bottom of a totem pole: who's laughing now, huh!?
But it is an excitement when we find some sort of show on at bedtime (around 8:00, sadly) on a network station, and we rush to refold the blankets covering our laps and restore the living room before tackling the steps two, three at a time all while cheering excitedly as we head toward the new bedroom TV, "LET'S WATCH IT IN HD!"
And it is now that I know the interesting phase in my life has passed.
Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Magician's Nephew is the most autobiographical book the C.S. Lewis ever wrote, and, while watching a documentary on the great writer yesterday afternoon, my skin prickled at a truth I've never heard stated in quite the same way. It gave me tears, and then it gave me peace.
The mother of the little boy (Digory) in the story is dying of Cancer, a scenario Lewis knew only too well. In case you don't know, C.S. Lewis was a born again Christian, having strayed toward atheism in adulthood when he began to question his spiritual upbringing. After years of debate, his logic led him back, and he was a devout Christian until his death in 1963. The Chronicles of Narnia are a Christian allegory.
Anyway, The Magician's Nephew was the sixth of the seven chronicles published, though it is the first chronologically. It is in The Magician's Nephew that the world of Narnia is created. Digory asks Aslan, The Creator, the most powerful and gracious, to save his mother. Aslan cries. Digory concludes with wonder that Aslan loves his mother even more than he does.
I pleaded nightly in my prayers for over two years asking God to save Mom and make the disease go away. In Sunday School, my teacher taught me that God hears every prayer, but that sometimes, he just says, "No." I know that He wept at her pain, and loving her even more than I did, he wanted her to know the splendor of Heaven.
Saturday, February 24, 2007
I developed an awareness of my lifestyle on my own somewhere around the onset of my 20's. Considering that I am sitting, legs dangling, atop the apex of my twenty-fifth year, this is a very sad piece of trivia indeed. Before that time, I subsisted largely on second and third helpings, Mountain Dew, and really anything that left a grease mark on the plate. Fortunately, I never had much of a taste for sweets (I guess I was sugared out with that Mountain Dew). It was the way of my household, the way my family ate. I thought it was normal.
I was in college when I had a chest pain. Twenty years old and my heart protested its environment so enthusiastically that I lost my breath. Then began my transformation—or was it my reformation? I was a sponge for information—anyone who's taken healthful living seriously will tell you of its addictive nature...all of the sudden you just feel so good. Even today, I can estimate the calories on just about any plate. I have omnipresent knowledge of RDA's and UL's...and enough about fiber to make you go cross-eyed.
Why this topic, why now? I almost never talk about this stuff here...part of my self-therapy, I suppose: it is easy to become obsessed. That, and everyone in audience tends to feel uncomfortable when you inadvertently cause them to take a look at their own habits. Nick and I were out to dinner last night, and somehow this subject came up, so it is on my mind. "It's hard," I told him. On one hand, I'm incredibly proud of how I've changed myself for the better. I've lost weight, have kept it off for years, and I'm so fit. I'm only about a month and a half out of surgery and I jogged for 75 minutes the other day. I couldn't have gone for even two minutes a few years ago—at that time, having been out of the hospital since birth. On the other...I'm so ashamed of how I was, how I behaved, and how little I knew while still in my self-dug trench of poor health.
While in the process, my friends and family would ask me, "How do you do it? How do you lose weight? What's the secret?" There is no secret. There's only one thing that works, and it's got nothing to do with that infomercial you just watched from Guthy-Renker or those expensive pills on the shelves that control your appetite by making you feel like you're going to puke if you even THINK about food: it's nutrition, and it's exercise. Do you know the FDA recommends 9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables? 25 minimum grams of fiber? Take your weight in pounds, divide it by two, and it is this amount of water in ounces that you should get a day, base. The American Heart Association calls for sixty minutes of heart healthy exercise every day. I dare you to meet these recommendations and see if you feel like making the same lifestyle choices afterwards.
Nick asks me about this topic now and then...he notices things about me...a lacking confidence in my appearance, my disbelief when someone seems to find me attractive. To this I can say that I am grateful to my beginnings: while confidence is the sought out trait, I would rather have mine invested in my personality than in my appearance. My mother was complimentary of my looks, but what mother isn't? (And especially when her daughter looks so much like herself! LOL!) She repeated this same sentiment those last months we had together...that the way I grew up made me exactly who I am today. If a book could be interpreted by its cover we wouldn't need to waste all that ink underneath. An overweight person is not a lazy person. An overweight person is not a glutton. An overweight person has a story, just as everyone else has. One could say that I changed myself a few years ago...but I didn't, not really. I just switched out the cover.
Friday, February 23, 2007
A full week now of this dumb head cold winding out, obviously I'm fussy and irritated by many things. I had a half-day at work yesterday, and I like nothing better on my half-days than to knock away a few hours at the gym. I love the gym. I love exhausting my body, especially now that I can do deep pliés without feeling like I'm seam-ripping my incision.
The gym makes me happy, it always makes me happy. I put just over in hour in on the treadmill yesterday, and then I moved over to do some strength training. There was a sweaty toad of a man there doing circuit training on the machines, and I was revolted. I get the theory, I know all about it, and I even believe in its probable effectiveness: but I was absurdly offended yesterday afternoon. I am a fan of supersets, having your muscles reach failure before moving on, quivery and questioning continued movement at all.
So I'm sitting there breathing through my pectoral work, and this man stops briefly in front of me with a quick diva look that I swear said, "You've been there so long (all 90 seconds)! I wanted to use that machine next!" Then he continued on to the next machine with a barely audible huff and did reps so fast I don't understand how they did him any good and how he avoided joint abuse (if he even did). He was quickly ruining my calm—and I was SO calm! The sun rained in through the tall windows and pinstriped that particular room with dust mote sparkles and glorious, caressing heat.
It was like practicing yoga next to the Energizer Bunny. What was worse, he wasn't wiping down his, SWEATY TOAD MAN'S, equipment after he finished is 5-second set. At first I carefully wiped his "leftovers" from the various machines in a concealed manner, not to be rude, but after a few more looks that told me in no certain terms that I was ruining his flow, I began to clean them with very flashy movements so that he could not miss the fact that I found him to be a sweaty toad man.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
So, I've put a spot of weight back on in the past several months...and while the unhealthy-minded part of me misses the malnourished sprite that got sick off of at least one meal daily, it doesn't hurt so much when I lie down anymore. The ribcage has a bit more of a cushion.
I ordered a skirt for myself last week...it was on clearance and I ordered it a size larger than I was once, thinking I was probably just thicker enough around the middle...but I really need to stop throwing away receipts and ripping off tags as soon as I get something. I wore the skirt to work yesterday and as soon as I got there I accosted my team: "Does anybody have a safety pin?"
They scurried around, offering binder clips and security tag pinchers while I stood looking properly devastated. "I don't think I'm in danger of being indecent...?" I stated uncertainly. Finally, a sewing kit did there emerge and I made my way to the bathroom, righting my waistband to a more appropriate circumference.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
So Brit decided to go bald, what's the big flippin' deal!? Why are people so damn offended? It was her choice. She didn't have alopecia-resulting chemotherapy. She wasn't tortured or made to feel degraded. I don't understand the shock, the seeming horror, that this teen idol turned sex symbol turned happy homemaker turned mom turned party girl should choose to exercise a sort of chameleon image THAT SHE ALWAYS HAS.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Okay, so I have it again.
Rather, it's never left, but I done went and got sick for awhile there and put it all on hold. A friend at work has a Maine Coon, the breed of all breeds, and she turned me on to Petfinder, a humane society site that you can search by breed, gender, age, size, and maybe even preference of canned food to dry, simulated tuna flavoring to beef and gravy. I'm addicted, because I would love to be able to "rescue" a cat, but also because there aren't so many rules with de-clawing this way. I will de-claw any house-cat I own. I am not of the belief that the practice is inhumane. I've observed many de-clawed cats over the years, and none of them treat their front paws gingerly or look any sort of crippled.
It is heartbreaking. I get my hopes up. Puff, the little guy on the top was my first love, and Nick seemed just as taken with him. Quickly, in our eager little minds, we plotted a road trip to Iowa, where Puff was located. When I didn't hear back from my inquiry after awhile (five minutes), I located a number and called the shelter. Puff had been adopted already.
This week, it was Bronx, and I hoped to be in Indiana right about now, getting ready to bring him home...but it was not to be with him either. I looked this morning and found four new Maine Coon males in the system, calico with white undersides: adorable. Disappointment still fresh regarding Bronx, the bottom photo by the way, I just couldn't apply.
But, mornings like this, the air crisp and me feeling poorly, the empty house with the still landscape through the panes, a treasure of purring fleece upon my lap would be so very heavenly. I would speak to him in my natural voice, the one that not many can hear because it is airy and too light, I guess, for human communication...but animals seem to like it. Sitting in the gilded gaze of the sun, we'd close our eyes and simply enjoy.
Last night, we went to a hockey game. We only stayed for two periods, as Nick had to work today and I wasn't feeling so hot anyhow. We got home, after me fighting the chills for a few hours, and I curled up on the couch with a blanket while Nick watched the last part of the game on TV. He went up to bed at some point, and I woke at around 11:30 there on the couch, realizing it was time to go upstairs and crawl under the covers there.
I don't remember much after that, but found it altogether interesting this morning to find all of my discarded clothing folded neatly atop the pile of dirty clothes in my closet. I always do this. I fold my dirty clothes: makes no sense, I know. But anyway, there they were, every layer I wore last night separated and folded crisply in a way that I know the washing machine will appreciate, though it will still agitate.
I am impressed that this bit of orderliness should come so naturally. Too bad I woke up to the apples of my cheeks rained upon by the cascade of old mascara, the aged stench of last night's oyster sauce emitting from between my lips, and my brassier perfectly in place. I guess personal hygiene isn't quite on autopilot yet. But yay for the state of my dirty clothes, eh?
Thursday, February 15, 2007
It hasn't been easy, you know. I drink water like it's...water. You know, the substance that covers most of the Earth and fills most of our bodies? I drink so much water that there were a few times under my aunt's gaze wherein she questioned whether I've ever been tested for diabetes. Well, I still haven't, but I'm thinking that with all of the darn blood tests and whatnot they've done, they would have noticed something peculiar.
So it comes to an issue of vessel. My needs are much reduced at work. I require only a straw. I do not like having to sip. It is undignified. And I slurp.
No, I'm a dedicated sucker, and will probably wind up old and gray with smoker's line even though I've never smoked a day in my life nor will I.
And, now: random pictures of home because I'm off topic anyway and have been accused of slacking in the picture department.
So, pretty much any straw-bearing bottle will do in the workplace, and the bigger the better or I'll just have to refill more often. But within reason: a coworker of mine as an 80-ouncer. That's a five pound sloshing trough to have to drag back from the bubbler! I have from from Choose Hope, Inc...for obvious reasons I should hope. I'm all about proceeds going to Cancer research.
What to use at home is a non-issue. I found a lovely specimen last spring, and even had a task force go back to the store to steal a rubber washer from another bottle there when, devastated, I managed to lose my own during the height of my illness last Summer. If you bought that water bottle without the washer, part of me is sorry, but most of me feels that you didn't know what you were missing anyhow and my conscience in clear.
But at the gym, oh boy. I struggle so. Nick has an assortment of those Nalgene bottles, which are great because you can pack like 40 ounces in those suckers if you really smash the water molecules together. This volume is, of course, perfect for those days that I feel like wasting 75 minutes on the treadmill. But I have to drink from them by placing my lips physically on the mouth of the bottle, and drinking. It's uncouth for one, and for the second...well, you try drinking like that, from a brimming 40-oz bottle, while jogging. I NEED STRAWS. I'm convinced I'd have died of thirst by now had they not existed. They say a sucker is born every minute, and I guess I was the one at 9:42p some twenty-five and a half years ago.
But that's not even the worst. The hard plastic clangs against the metal of the cup holder when I display any sort of bounce, vigor, or hitch in my get-along. I find it very distracting and thow darts at the loud thing with my eyes, willing it to shut the heck up. It never does. I look around, realize that everyone else working out can hear my tantrumming bottle, and lord only knows how long it will be before the powers that be throw us both out of the establishment. I turn off my treadmill and cry. This is a big deal. I need a water bottle that will stand up the the challenges I face.
Last week, I found it, THE bottle. It has the look, feel, and singing voice of the Nalgene bottles, BUT WITH A STRAW! I was so giddy that I giggled for a few minutes before stroking the purple one. So, with an adequate water supply and adequate system for delivery, one problem remained. The attention-seeking need to make more noise than the treadmill—I didn't think it was possible either but let me tell you...
Late Sunday night, I ordered sleeves for the bottles (Nick got one too), I'm thinking they will muffle the impact substantially. Until then, I came up with my own little solution, and shortly after my first test run, regretted having ordered anything as the home solution worked fabulously. A sock. Duh. Of course! I wrapped my bottle in the downy insulation I usually only bestow upon my toes, and only sound I could hear over the treadmill was the inner groan of my hips.
Thrilled, I headed home to Nick, who worked late that night and was unable to join me at the gym. Immediately he reached for my bottle, examining my setup. "Jealous, aren't you?" I asked, very full of myself as I recall. He made to answer, but I jumped ahead of him, "Do you want to use the other sock for yours?" He stroked the primary blue sock that I had purchased expecting a long hospital stay last month. It is gaudy and complete with white rubbery marks for traction. "I also have one in pink?" He seemed disincline to accept.
But I'm still content.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
He gave me a card that read, in part, "One look at you is all it takes for me to fall in love all over again."
He wrote, in part, "You have my whole heart."
And, inside, were two tickets to see Norah Jones live in concert.
I was tipsy before my lips were wet with dinner's wine.
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