Sunday, July 31, 2011
Let's move onto something a little lighter, shall we?
Well, "lighter" is a figurative term…you see, Sophie's body max index has been an ongoing project in our lives.
She came to us as a scrawny malnourished rescue kitten. She was all length and no width; she looked pitiful. We left a bowl of food out for her at all times to eat whenever she saw fit. Cats are supposed to know when they are not really hungry anymore and stop, after all.
By her second year checkup with the vet, she had filled out drastically. She was still growing however, so we thought it was a phase. Not to mention, she is a larger cat breed. By year three however, she was officially overweight, weighing in at 17 pounds. I have to interject, for the sake of Sophie, that during that year we identified medical problems that require her to be on prescription cat food that is much higher in fat content.
But even with that interjection…Sophie doesn't eat; she inhales.
She was left to her own devices for too long in the wild and never lost the scavenger mentality. Nick and I had to be a lot more active in her diet by veterinary proclamation, or we were going to have a (fuzzy) walking beach ball on our hands.
All of her portion sizes have been reduced, and she eats from an automatic feeder that disperses a portion at 8:00 AM and midnight. I get home from work at 4:30 PM, and I give her a small portion of wet food for her evening meal. The vet warned us that putting a cat on a diet is much worse than any human on a diet, and boy he wasn't kidding.
In the beginning, she'd nag us to feed her, tripping us as she wound around our ankles. Eventually, when we didn't give in, she'd up and bite us. She got nasty all around. She'd run in from another area of the condo and head straight toward one of us to take a meaty nip from our legs. In case you don't already know this: cats like to be the boss. They constantly challenge authority.
Needless to say, when those feeding times hit, she is an eating machine. Nick and I have separated ourselves from the dry food with that automatic feeder (she now chews on that thing instead of us), but she still relies on us for the afternoon wet food. She is the pestiest of all pests when I walk in the door…and for what? Moments after I put her food down, it's gone. I doubt she even tastes it.
Saturday, July 30, 2011
The last 24 hours have been frustrating for me on a physical level. I thought I was building up my steam to chug along like I didn't have major surgery a month ago, but I have been taken down a notch.
You see, I have existing problems with a spine that just wasn't made right. Through physical therapy, I was given core exercises to take more of the basic balancing duties away from my back (which is sorely lacking). I knew, given the type of surgery I had and my reluctance to use my abdominal muscles for much of anything, there was a decent chance that my original pains would all resurface when my constant tummy vigilance failed.
Fortunately, I only work in the mornings on Fridays, so I was able to come home and take the good stuff in my pain-killer arsenal. Unfortunately, I didn't get ahead of the pain early enough, and I couldn't find relief. I was absolutely exhausted (in no small part due to the narcotics and muscle relaxers) and fell asleep on the couch.
Even though my mind was all fuzzy and drooly, my nerves were still plenty riled up. I must have been writhing around quite a bit on the couch, trying in vain to find a comfortable way to rest my body. I woke up at 1:30 when I flung myself to the floor, taking one of the couch cushions (which are attached down with Velcro, by the way) with me. I wanted to give into tears with the aches I was feeling, but I was determined not to feel sorry for myself.
I'm not frustrated with the lumbosacral pain. I know that Nick is still angry with it, but I've come to a place of acceptance. To quote my mother, "It is what it is." It was almost five years ago exactly when they told me that I had Mom's genetic disorder and all it entailed. I think he still believes in a world where there is a definitive answer to everything.
What I am frustrated with is that through my thrashing, I managed to tear my incisions. When I noticed, I felt ill: I thought I was almost to the other side of this recovery. Nick had a 10 mile race today, and the start/finish was walking distance from our condo. It was in my plans to walk over to the park about an hour after the official start time to cheer my friends as they finished. I knew that those plans were scratched as soon as I spotted blood.
Everything seems to be closed back up today (thankfully), but I'm back to being afraid to move like I was in the early days after surgery…and now I'm afraid to sleep as well. So, yeah. Frustrated.
Friday, July 29, 2011
We just got home from signing stuff at the bank.
When my turn to sign came, I could hear the "Final Jeopardy" theme playing as two sets of eyes watched my slow cursive of K-A-Z-Y-N-S-K-I.
It's the z that throws me. Nobody writes a cursive efficiently—at least nobody who has been signing their name with perfectly average letters for almost 30 years. The cursive z is a very pretty letter I must say, but it takes a bit of attention to detail to really pull it off well.
I bite my lower lip and furrow my brow in deep concentration. I readjust my tripod grip, and force my fingers to relax away from the tight grasp that has come on with my sudden anxiety over the next letter.
I start the upward arc to continue from the a. I get a little excited and tell myself to pause, breathe, and return to the task with intention. I get a little punchy when I get to the loopy tail, and I need to pull in the reins again. Too fast and it'll get all pointy, and nobody likes a pointy z: they're just uncivilized.
When I've finally finished that last upward swing, I have beads of sweat on my upper lip; my tongue is hanging out of the corner of my mouth. The rest of the signature flows without incident.
When I look up, my face is flushed and my eyes are glassy. I did it, and my z was a masterpiece. I pass the pen to Nick. He signs what looks to be a K, some squiggly lines, and a dot at the end. He smiles as he hands the document back to the banker.
"Laura hasn't learned how to get through this last name yet."
The banker questions, "How long have you been married?"
Nick looks at me and thinks a moment. "About seven months."
"Ah. Wives don't figure out to forge their husband's signatures until they've been married at least two years."
Listening to their exchange, I sat perplexed for three reasons:
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I met Nick on a cold January day. I was charmed from the instant I saw him—and mainly because he was nervous. I had had a few…interesting…first dates in the months leading up to that day. The men were pretty and knew it—in and of itself, that's okay. What's not okay is that many of them made sure that I was also aware of just how pretty they were, how much of a catch they would be. While I can tell you that I was entertained by the egotism (it was so ridiculous…I've heard of peacock comparisons before, but that was my first time seeing it in action), I was downright bored with those dates. If they had fodder for conversation beyond how much they could bench press, they didn't bring it to the table.
Meeting someone who wasn't 110% sure of himself on day one was a nice change. You know how this ends. We went on more dates, we adopted a cat, and then we got married. However, I noticed something along the way: he's decidedly unsuave.
This was actually very good for me. When I was younger, I was overly sensitive and words offended me easily. I valued words and gave them a lot of weight. A person wouldn't say something if they didn't mean it, after all.
I still value words, but I'm not so closed to the idea that not everyone realizes the power of words or possesses the wisdom to choose them carefully.
Even though I had come to this conclusion on my own (because Nick's actions are extremely loving and eloquent even though I want to put him in a headlock every time he opens his mouth), the class I took on communication styles last year solidified my theory. I am so irritated by people who communicate like Nick (I call it foot-in-mouth disease) because they are the polar opposite of my communication style, and thus the only communication style of the four that I cannot identify with.
Loving Nick made me a better communicator, and this has profited me in all aspects of my life.
But what does all this mean? Well I'll tell you: Nick needs to work on his game.
A few years ago for Valentine's Day, I gave him a red button to help him out. It's faintly reminiscent of the Staples "easy" button, except a kitschy come on line spurts out when you push this one.
"I wish I had a shovel, because I sooooo dig you."
"Did it get brighter in here, or did you just smile?"
It's pretty much the cheesiest thing you've ever heard.
At the time, he threw it in the back of his closet because he was self-conscious of his ineptitude and by being outdone by a talking button. Last weekend, the button reemerged, and he placed it in a place of prominence by the front door. He really seems to be eager to work on his shortcomings, because he presses the button every time he walks by (which is often).
I have never had cause to regret my words...but I might be, ever so slightly, regretting the impulse to buy that damn button.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Michelle: I tried to drink soy milk when I stopped being able to drink regular milk, but I didn't care for the sweetness.
Laura: Oh, are you lactose intolerant now?
Michelle: Yeah, it's been hard cutting out milk. Sometimes I have a bit in cereal, but even that's a crapshoot.
Laura: (Stumbles. Tries to wipe the grin off her face.)
Michelle: (Looks back, concerned.) What's wrong with you?
Laura: (Openly grinning now.)
Michelle: OH! Yeah—ha! Yes, it really is a crapshoot!
Monday, July 25, 2011
Come on: the swing of things—you've heard of it. I need to get back there, and I am starting my journey tomorrow when I "go back" to work. I am working the first two days from home to see how it goes. Then I will be in the office all day on Thursday and a half-day on Friday (my normal work schedule). I thought this would be a good transition to return to work, though I imagine I will be tired beyond words for the first couple of days. My poor brain isn't used to having to think for so many hours in a row, and my body has grown accustomed to my afternoon nap!
My total hysterectomy was four weeks ago tomorrow, and I have to say that the second half of my leave went a lot quicker than the first! Once I stopped fretting about work, I gave into the fatigue and slept the days away. I don't think I've ever been so tired in all my life. I am not even sure how to describe it. Sometimes my head feels like a bowling ball that my neck can no longer support. Really, my whole body feels weighed down at times, and my only defense is sleep.
While I know that this is my body's way of devoting as much energy as possible to healing, I'm absolutely dumbfounded by the exhaustion. When I saw my doctor last, she didn't seem alarmed at my listlessness at all. I continued to look to her for an answer when she gave none. She chuckled and exclaimed, "I removed an organ!"
My friend Becky and I split a CSA half-share through a program that delivers the produce to our office. She has been nice enough to deliver my half during my leave. She asked a couple of weeks ago how I've been spending my days since I was moving much easier than the week before. I gestured into the living room. "See the couch?"
As far as pelvic pain, I have none—huge victory! This was the one thought that reassured me and gave me hope in the last few days leading up to the surgery. For once, I was undergoing a procedure that came with guarantees. For once, we were treating the problem instead of the symptoms because…for once, I had a problem that could actually be fixed. I am not being sarcastic at all when I tell you that this thought was very exciting for both of us (me + Nick).
I admit that I am a little nervous as I think about resuming my normal schedule. I would have preferred that I felt more like myself by this point, but maybe I just need my old routine back to get me over the hump. Lord knows I miss getting out of the house every day!
I'd say it's time.
WARNING: Boring site information to follow.
At Nick's suggestion, I added links to my other web homes (in the sidebar under "Find Me"). Apparently I'm horribly outdated because "everyone's doing it"—everyone except me. Since I think sheep are a lot more adorable than salmon, I made the update.
I was going to add a Flickr badge, but I just wasn't fond of all that clutter in the sidebar. Icon libraries were definitely the cleanest way to go. It's really too bad that I don't have a Twitter account because some of the little bird icons are totally cute.
All but one of my sites are fairly common and available in almost every style, but I had to limit my searches to those sets that included Vimeo (which I don't use often, but there are some videos out there). I suppose I could have created my own, but I did not care to expel the effort.
I didn't add anything for Google+ because no one uses it anyway.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Sophie entertained us most of the afternoon yesterday. We had returned home from a shopping excursion in the Dells to find the cat spasmodically throwing herself at the door. Upon closer inspection, a small bug was resting outside the glass.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
The sights were interesting and all, but I think I mentioned that Nick and I were there for a specific purpose. We arrived on a Thursday, and I was going to see a legendary musician whose music has touched me my entire life on Friday. Nick gave me a hard time all day because I was so gosh darn chirpy. He pretended to sleep when we were supposed to be leaving for the Paul McCartney concert, but my excitement was not to be dampened:
I am relatively certain that I had enough enthusiasm to cover us both.
When I packed for the trip, I admit that I did waffle on what to wear to the concert. I mean, if he saw me, I'd want him to be decently charmed. I finally decided on an old dress of mine with a small pink leopard print. Girly refinement with wild instincts: just the message I wanted to send! If I ran into Paul McCartney that night, he was going to fall in love with me. (I didn't.)
Due to a bit of a mix up, Nick did not bring the little camera to the arena. That was a bit sad, but I don't think that pictures could have truly captured my emotions or properly preserve the memories anyway. I do have a couple grainy cell phone images (compliments of Nick's BlackBerry) taken in the arena before the concert when I was beside myself with nerves and excitement.
Guys, it was magic. My heart just started beating a little faster thinking of how to describe the experience with words. There was a commotion on the floor moments before the concert was to begin. We weren't sure what was happening, then we realized that Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Olivia Harrison and George Martin were in attendance. The commotion started when they took their seats, and the commotion absolutely erupted when Macca took the stage.
I can't even tell you what song he started with because I was stunned. I know it was a song that I knew very well and knew every nuance of the recording. I know it was song that was covered in the hours of Beatles documentaries I have seen throughout my life. It was difficult to connect that the timeless sound I've known for so long was being created just ahead. I felt Nick's eyes on me, looking for a reaction—I couldn't snap out of it.
It was sometime during the second song ("Junior's Farm") that I noticed myself singing along and moving my feet to the beat. I laughed. I laughed for several moments. I think I went a little crazy because—DUH!—PAUL MCCARTNEY WAS RIGHT THERE. I glanced back to Nick and noticed his smug expression, so proud of himself for getting me to that place of carefree elation.
I wasn't thinking of work, or hospitals, or futures…for once, I was completely invested in savoring the now. The tiredness (and crankiness) that had plagued me the night before was non-existent as I lost myself in the music and the anecdotes.
I was expecting to be wowed by the great Paul McCartney songs, but I got more than I bargained for. He led the audience through the hook on John's "Give Peace a Chance" as we sang it over and over again. Cameras panned the audience, and large screens behind the stage showed Yoko and Sean waving their arms and singing along. I just couldn't believe that I was there.
After the concert, including two encores, the arena emptied and we were caught in a wave of people who seemed to be floating through the passageways. Everyone seemed to vibrate with this crazy energy. It was a feeling of unity with perfect strangers (and Nick, who is perfectly strange). Suddenly, the tightly packed crowd began singing, "Naa na na, na-na na na, na-na na na, hey Jude!" I'm usually not a fan of crowds, but I sure liked these people!
Beatles fans should totally rule the world.
Friday, July 22, 2011
The entire purpose for the trip was to see The Cute One. Even so, when the plane landed it was the first time I had ever been in the Pacific timezone much less Sin City. I am not a gambler (there's usually a dress or pair of shoes that I would rather throw my money at), but I wanted to take in other parts of Las Vegas while we were there. Shortly after checking in, we headed to New York, New York to find a place to eat a light dinner.
After learning the price of a fountain soda at a sandwich place, I made sure to take advantage of the free refills. I consumed Diet Pepsi until you could see it splashing in the whites of my eyes. I drank well past the point of comfort and barely left any room for my black bean burger—but by God, I was going to make 'em hurt on the fountain soda.
After dinner, we left to do some touristy stuff on the Las Vegas Strip. We caught the fountains at Bellagio…
…and the Mirage Volcano. We took video of that too, but I am not all that entertained by it, so I won't embed it here. We waited quite awhile for the show to start since it was on Nick's tidy little list of must-sees. As such, since we both had cameras, we ended up with a lot of shots outside the Mirage hotel. Most of them were deleted because they looked the exact same as the other 50. Oh, look! There's a duck! [click.] Oh, look! There's the same duck! [click.] Oh, look! There it is again! [click.] Boredom bites, but thankfully today's memory cards support that level of boredom.
The "volcano" was disappointing for me. I didn't see the draw, but then maybe we were just standing too far away from the center of the action to be drawn in. I was very tired by this point as well. On a normal night, we go to bed at 9:00 (early morning people). The time change threw me off, and I was mad that it was still so light outside when I was ready to crash. Still, Nick had one last thing to see that night since it was going to be our only time to sight-see.
My fatigue was making me very cranky because my body was still on Wisconsin time and thinking that it was past 10:00. I never sleep well the day before travel (mind too busy), so I was even crankier than usual. I didn't mortally wound Nick with my stabbing glares, but I wanted him to at least hurt a little. This is a conflict that we run into on every single vacation. Nick likes to fill every second with an activity. I myself enjoy a little feline laziness when I go on holiday. I usually return to work more exhausted than when I left because my time away was all GO-GO-GO-GO.
I knew that I would play along and go to his last item on the list because I always fold, but I wasn't going to go quietly. He hailed a taxi to take us to see the Fremont Street Experience.
If I had been in a nicer mood, I might have let him know how much I enjoyed seeing the light show. As it was, I had a point to make, so I remained taciturn as I snapped photos and thought to myself, "Wow…"
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