Sunday, June 7, 2015
As is so often the case, I cannot organize my thoughts for a targeted post. So, here we go.
Yes, that's me. It's a tough attraction with all the dangers the sun poses. My parents both loved the sun—though I get my love for "stifling" heat solely from my father. I would prefer 100° F weather every day if I had the choice. (Curious that I live in Wisconsin, I know.)
My ancestry is made of pale ethnicities, so I have no idea why I tan so easily when I should burn by all logic. I sometimes wish I was more sensitive to the sun so I would have learned earlier in life to use caution when spending time outdoors. Of course I try to keep my skin protected now that I know better, but it isn’t something I remember all the time. That concerns me.
Even with all this—the danger, the fear…even the guilt—I am a moth, and it is my flame.
It never fails: I become ill after a couple weeks counting calories (thereby restricting calories, I suppose). It's the darndest thing. This whole weight loss thing was a heck of a lot easier 14 years ago—you know, back when I was able to give it the one-two (diet-exercise) punch without these pesky repercussions.
The portion-control malady is usually in the form of the good old head cold. Lousy things, those colds. The symptoms are just enough to make you miserable—nothing more, nothing less. This time, the cold morphed into a sinus infection. I've now been on antibiotics for two days...five more to go.
My inflamed sinuses have temporarily stolen the hearing in my right ear. I never really had ear infections as a child, so this has been a rare experience for me. I am amazed at how this has affected my balance. The clogged ear has also amplified sounds that I wish I could turn down—the sound of my own voice being at the top of the list—but also, my heartbeat and the sound of my breathing.
I know it all sounds really whiny—and make no mistake, it is—but I am going a little bonkers with all that racket coupled with the issues with equilibrium. It’s a bad trip, man. To use the younger vernacular, I suppose I literally can’t even right now.
Fitbit has brought out the worst part of myself (in my opinion). It’s been a little data collecting device that fires all my OCD cannons: SO MANY NUMBERS! But the most awful of the ugly heads that have reared is my competitiveness. That I am competitive surprises most people, which makes me happy. I have made tamping down aggressive ambition an art. I abstain from activities that I believe will trigger the beast—I hate this part of my personality.
No matter where I look, be it a personality test or a summary of my astrological sign* (Virgo), this ruthlessness appears. Type-A much?
Fitbit users can “friend” each other and have step challenges. Only catastrophe can keep me from the top. Seriously. There are nights when I have delayed bedtime to do laps around the kitchen island just to get the edge.
When someone we know finds out I have a Fitbit and suggests that we be friends, Nick warns them off. “You don’t want to be Laura’s friend.” He knows. The struggle is real.
*I don’t actually put a lot of stock into horoscopes.
Our landscaper began work three days ago. The grass (sod in the front, seed in the back) will go in early this week, but everything is looking really good. We're no longer ashamed to show our faces in the neighborhood now that it doesn't look so construction zone-y.
Monday, October 28, 2013
I'm getting better. The feelings of weakness have subsided for the most part. I still feel pretty tired most of the time, and I can't remember the last time I had two days in a row without "stomach" cramps—I can cope with these symptoms though, so I'm still calling overall progress in the right direction.
What has become even more obvious to me during the past several months (it isn't as though I wasn't already aware) is that I have a really awful relationship with food. A few weeks ago I had lunch with my cousin who is a true foodie. She loves tastes and textures and almost every thing about eating. I watched her having a near-purring, spine-tingling reaction to her meal, and I admit that I was awed.
I view food solely as a means to an end: energy to power my brain or my body through a day of work; a way to get through the next few hours without being possessed by the low blood sugar [not-nice-person]; something to take with medication to avoid nausea. Watching my cousin enjoy her lunch, I wasn't just awed…I was jealous.
It reminded me of an experience Nick and I had on our honeymoon. Nick scheduled a Chef's Tasting at the Flying Fish, and the man waxes poetic about the meal TO THIS DAY. He always looks at me expectantly as if I should join the chorus of angels in sweet memory of that most momentous event…and I usually scrunch my face trying to remember the meal at all. I think I even said once, "…I don't remember getting sick from it, so there's that?"
While my childhood relationship with food was just as poor but in a different way (I ate to anesthetize), there was a time in my early 20s when I truly enjoyed finding nutritious and flavorful things to eat. I was excited to plan my menus, and I paid attention to how food fed my body rather than my emotions. That was before meals became a total minefield, when foods I had been happily eating for years started causing issues.
I try to hide my distaste for eating, and I think (hope) I hide the truth fairly well…but the truth is that I would rather skip this eating nonsense completely. Of course I can't do that because it is a basic need to survive (and I would lose friends by the dozens if the aforementioned "low blood sugar [not-nice-person]" were to become a permanent fixture). In a few days, I have my annual physical exam and also an appointment with a registered dietitian. I'm hoping to get some ideas from talking to the two of them to make this easier to cope with as my current "guess and check" approach to eating seems to be an epic fail.
I really do think I am getting better…it's just that I'm nursing a sore tummy as I type, and I'm feeling extremely whiny.
Monday, July 8, 2013
I am leaving in an hour for another work trip to Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I actually love Eden Prairie, but the frequency of travel there over the past weeks has caused some upheaval—updating this website has fallen by the wayside. No matter how much I enjoy travelling, I will always be a homebody first.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Well, hi there!
I've been silenced for the past little while with some technical website server silliness, but I'm back with a lot of updates.
Started April 7, 2013
So, two weekends ago, a lot of really nice friends came to help us move out of the condo. We went with a PODS unit to store the majority of our possessions. I had been working very hard in the weeks working up to this, and everything was packed, labeled (with color-coding), and ready to be lifted. Nick told a few of the men who came to help that if they saw me lifting anything at all, they had strict orders to hit me on my low back (because it would sideline me for the rest of the day). See, about three weeks earlier, I missed most of a week at work recovering from a flare up with my back pain...that, and my back is just a trainwreck in general—honestly, if I were to spell all of the problems out for you, it would sound made-up, because no one's luck is that bad!
Needless to say (such a silly phrase: it always means that you're about to say something that you clearly don't find needless), I was a good girl and lifted nothing, but I felt like crap the whole time when I did little else but manage door opening/closing and direct while everyone else did the gruntwork. I feel incredibly blessed to have met such wonderful people willing to dedicate their time and kindness to this task. Since I had everything packed, the work was done in about two hours, so I felt happy that we didn't eat up anyone's entire Saturday.
The original closing date on the condo was scheduled for March 29th, but rescheduled for April 8th due to financing delays for the buyer. Meanwhile, we have an accepted offer on a pretty lot. Our stress has been on the high side lately. Once we close on both of these properties, my gray hair factory will probably close its doors. We drove by the lot yesterday, and we were happy to finally see indication that someone had staked a claim!
Continued April 14, 2013
So, we're staying with my aunts—back in my subterranean loft where I lived in 2005/2006. Now that life is starting to feel sane, I need to get into an exercise routine. My body feels sluggish and unhealthy...I know part of this is the time I took off when my back was hurting (it's just SO hard to get back into it after a break!), part of it is all the takeout food that we ate the last few weeks of March (because we had packed up the kitchen), and the rest of it is that my tummy has been acting up on me (so I've been turning to more comfort foods that I know will digest properly).
Anyway, we sold our treadmill and elliptical trainer so that we wouldn't have to move them...and I foolishly allowed all my dumbbells and exercise DVDs to be packed into the POD. Once Wisconsin finally warms up, I will walk outside for exercise. Unfortunately, spring is taking forever to, well, spring this year. A guy who I work with wrote on his whiteboard calendar during the last week of March "January 85 - January 89" because he was certain January never ended. I think we've finally turned a corner as far as the likelihood of blizzards go, but it still doesn't meet my standards.
What I would really love to do is join a gym again. I never belonged to a gym before 2005 when I first moved back to Wisconsin, and even I was surprised at how much I loved it. My little gym is no longer there, but there are other gyms in the area. I need to figure out if I can work the expense into my budget.
Speaking of exercise, my cousin has finally become a runner. She was one of those people who spoke so negatively about running to me (at the time, a runner) when she had never really tried it before. Those people really irk me, but I'm humored that those same people do a 180 when they decide to give running a chance.
Of course, I am no longer running (which I am convinced was the right decision for me), but I remember how superhuman it felt to run 10+ miles. I miss that feeling. I don't miss the swollen joints or the nightly icing. Besides, by the end of my relationship with running, I felt more like a helpless victim than a superhero. My cousin told me that she hurts a lot since becoming a runner, looking to me as if I had the answer for her. I shrugged, which wasn't the reassurance she wanted. There is a price for everything...it's all about what you are willing to pay.
She just returned from a trip to India. I'm very happy that her travel-bug took her to India instead of North Korea! Anyway, she has lost so much weight and looks terrific...I'm sure vacation was all the more enjoyable as a physically fit person.
I'll wrap this up since I'm all over the place (that's what happens when you take weeks to compile a single post), but I wanted to note that I'm once again reacquainted with a certain orange cat who used to steal my stuff:
Saturday, March 16, 2013
It's been a few years since my last big move. When I moved in with Nick, it was so gradual that I barely noticed that it happened…and the process was accelerated when I became ill and could no longer drive back and forth between abodes. (Nick wanted to take on the task of changing my dressings so that he could still see me every day...he took excellent care of me.)
When we received an offer on our condo that was very close to our minimum acceptable amount, it came with the requirement to be out by the end of the month—pretty stressful when a third of the month was already gone. That, and we both carry a lot of work stress…we rely on a worry-free home to keep us sane.
So anyway, I'm left comparing the two moves even though one was a relocation of 1,200 miles and the other of 10. For what I've saved in distance, I've made up for in the accumulation of stuff. In the last seven years, I've discovered my preferred decorating style and purchased accordingly. It's a lesson though to be careful on what you wish for: I looked at our storage shelves in the basement several months ago and thought, "Man! I need to move! I've got too much stuff!" You see, I moved several times in my 20s…which forced me to live with minimal possessions for reasons of moving-laziness.
We sold our condo both slower than I hoped and faster than I expected. It was so quick that I stopped looking at houses after the one we fell in love with sold. (Why get your heart set on something you probably won't be able to have?) Now we are (or will be soon) homeless. We will be staying with family while we figure out next steps and save for a bigger downpayment. Sophie may or not move with us, I'm not sure. She's been staying with Grandma the last month or so for many reasons related to the craziness of showings and stacks of boxes EVERYWHERE.
There are other cats living where we will be staying. Sophie has been an only cat most of her life—and she's female. The two together scream TERRITORIAL! even though I don't know that for sure. Our cat has issues with anxiety, so we work pretty diligently to keep her all "calm blue ocean" every day (or she actually becomes ill). We visited her tonight at Grandma's house, and she seems to be adjusting well there. I miss my Sophie in day-to-day life, but I question the direction that's best for her instead of me.
SO, I'm really sore and achy, I'm tired, I'm nervous, and I'm ready to be done with boxes for a very long time.
Monday, March 11, 2013
I actually started this post on March 1st but never got around to finishing—I'm pointing this out so the title makes a bit more sense (the murder bit was added after I determined the direction of this entry). They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb…but we are nearly halfway through the month now, so the animal should be resembling a roaring baby sheep with really big teeth.
Two weeks ago, Nick sold our living room furniture. He listed it all on Craigslist, and someone was interested enough to buy. I stayed out of the posting and selling because Nick had all the living room furniture before I came into the picture...that, and I don't like inviting strangers into my home. I was busy working in the office when the interested party stopped by to inspect the couch (they came for the couch and eventually left with the couch, a chair, and two tables). I was going to close the office door, but—and I completely blame Nick for all of those crime documentary type shows he watches—I decided I should leave it open in case the "couch viewing" was really part of an elaborate murder plot.
I told this to Nick afterward (he didn't get murdered, not even the smallest bit), assuring him that I would have ventured out of the office to help him if it sounded like he was being attacked. He gave me that sarcastic Chandler Bing face (you Friends fans will understand). Looking pointedly at the desk where my phone rested, he mocked, "OR…you could have called 9-1-1."
Ok Nick, I wasn't thinking clearly...I thought you were going to be murdered!
Speaking of murder (thinking I'm going to set a record on the number of times I can say it in one post), he was watching a documentary tonight about a woman who killed her husband while he was asleep. They worked out that she was abusing prescription painkillers—specifically, the drug that I've been prescribed to take daily. I looked at Nick where he sat next to me, and I apologized in advance for any foiled or successful murder (there it is again!) attempts. He nodded in acceptance—we're good.
In the interest of full disclosure, this lady—the one who murdered her husband—was taking upwards of 180 pills in a single week...but still! I think I have some leverage there!
Friday, February 15, 2013
Yep, you guessed it: another melting pot of a post.
Did you know that June 1 is just over 15 weeks away? No? Well, why would you—unless you have a walking marathon to complete that day like I do. I fell into LDW (long-distance walking) last year. This was after I decided to think with my head instead of my heart when it came to high-impact exercise and the structural issues with my spine. The doctors had been suggesting it for years, but I was too proud to admit my body wasn't the well-oiled machine that it used to be. And in true human fashion, I focused on what I couldn't do instead of what I could. That all changed when I discovered long distance walking.
Anyway, Nick and I completed the Walk Wisconsin half-marathon last year. We made it into a local newspaper when we kissed at the finish line on stage:
We made a pact to complete the full marathon this year, and our [self led] 16 week training program commenced on Monday. We can use the walking track at the rec center until the weather is a little nicer (16 laps to a mile), but we need to find an outdoor venue this weekend to complete the scheduled 10-mile walk because I'm pretty sure that I'll go insane during one of those 160 laps.
I suck at romance—seriously do. Nick is the romantic one of our pair. I admitted my failings yesterday as I sat in the salon with foils in my hair. When I approached the chair with my request for highlights (since my hair keeps going back to blonde anyway, might as well go with it), Jean (my hairdresser of the last eight years) looked upset. "You can't do that! Not yet! It's still fun season with your hair!" she cried. I couldn't tell if she was joking, so I just stared. "Do you trust me?" she asked at last. Since I do, she waved her magic wand and gave me pretty, copper-kissed lowlights instead. I'm getting the feeling that my brunette stylist is bored by my blonde.
Anyway, I told her of my unromantic tendencies and she started going on about ideas from Facebook and Pinterest and blah, blah, blah. Finally, she got to the point and suggested a trick with hard-boiled eggs to make them look like hearts. "You could give that to Nick!"
I couldn't stop the snort. Happy Valentine's Day, honey! Here's an egg to show you how much I care! "Or you could just go home and be yourself, I guess. He's probably used to you by now anyway," she finished sarcastically when I finished laughing.
New Coffee Mug
I take a lot of pills. I don't like it, but…
I take Ultram four times daily for chronic pain. This doesn't have a huge effect on me, but it definitely takes the edge off and allows me to function fairly normally. Since all this fell into my lap in August 2006, I am a little afraid of anything that totally takes the pain away because that's such a nice, addicting feeling. I have heavier narcotics and muscle relaxers in my arsenal for when the hurt is way out of my pain tolerance (I refer to them as my "escalation drugs"). The point is that doctors have stopped trying to find a fix, so they try to make me as comfortable as I can be (i.e. medication). I'm hoping to see a doctor in a couple months who will give me another option, but it is what it is for now.
Anyway, I try to make light of it as much as I can. As such, I couldn't resist purchasing this coffee cup when I saw it:
I like laughing, and this makes me laugh: I actually take chill pills—DAILY!
Since all this moving madness started, Nick and I, for the first time ever I think, started watching Home and Garden Television. Apparently we've had the channel all along! Anyway, HGTV has approximately a bajillion shows on real estate…it's a new obsession for us. Property Brothers in particular is very nice to watch.
Bonus Dose of Cuteness
Sophie doesn't know how to be anything but adorable. It stinks when you really want to be angry with her.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Hey, guess what? It's really stressful taking a week off from work…or, I should say, it's really stressful returning to work after taking a week off. (The above picture was from the week we spent in Chicago for our anniversary.)
So, I am actually spending this evening at home, and I'm not even going to log into work! I told myself, "Self? You should probably come up with some drivel about the last week to add to your blog."
Well, I leaned my head against the couch and thought about the week…I really did try to think. Unfortunately, my brain must be operating in a sort of safe mode since it crashed at the end of the day on Friday. The only details I can think of call on proprietary company information, so they are sort of off limits.
I have nothing else to offer, but the drive to blog was apparently strong enough that I wrote about not having anything to write…but it's drivel nonetheless. So, in review, " ." The end.
Friday, January 4, 2013
On the way back from a visit to Chicago, we stopped at IKEA. I feel like I am always on the lookout for organizational solutions to use in our condo. The floor plan isn't cramped really, it's just that it supports more of a minimalist lifestyle than we (I) lead.
My biggest source of consternation is the upstairs bathroom (now that my closet has been properly established). The upstairs in general tends to be the last area to get my attention since we spend most of our time in/visitors only see the entry-level rooms.
Now, IKEA may not have the highest quality furniture, but those Swedes know how to deal with tight spaces. I was very excited to find a piece of furniture narrow enough to work in the bathroom. Of course, IKEA stuff does not come already assembled. The box of shelf guts sat upstairs for about a day before I decided it was time to break out the tools.
I grabbed what I needed and headed to the stairs. Nick called out, "Do you need me to put that together for you?"
"No, I have it," came my reply.
"I can do it, I don't mind," he continued, his disbelief at my statement obvious.
"No REALLY. I have it." I continued up the stairs.
"Okay...well, just call when you need me to come up and help."
I bit my tongue, but that last one bothered me…as if I needed help to assemble a piece of manufactured furniture! It was the "WHEN" I needed help instead of "IF" that irritated me most.
My father was on kid-detail in the afternoons during summer vacation, so we spent our time watching him do stuff…like build houses. Plus! I was put to work by Brenda when I lived with my aunts (that woman is scary with a power drill). Point being: I'm nowhere near inept! I wanted to snarl and hiss, but I refrained and went to work.
When I emerged after the successful completion of my DIY project, I found Nick lounging on the couch. With proud indignation etched upon my face, I made sure to advise him never to confuse "I don't want to" with "I can't" (being that I am liberal with the first and conservative with the second).
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
It's a clear and sunny January 2nd in Chicago. Puffs of vapor hover in the air over the sidewalks where people stride through the cold morning. There is a sort of stillness to it all after the holiday frenzy. After jovial farewell parties and welcoming zeal for the next 365 days, those passersby look focused: it's time to get to work, to create something meaningful out of those resolutions...
...to have something to celebrate next year at this time.
I'm not much of a resolution person. I often struggle with envisioning long-term goals for myself. I'm a bricklayer thinking about the next brick instead of the end of the path. Many times I don't even recognize the end until I've paved my way there. I suppose it's a way for me to appreciate success in whatever shape it arrives.
Even so, I respect and admire the clarity some people have with their goal-making.
These are my daily goals. While they seem simple enough, they aren't ways easy to execute. If I miss even one of them, I spend the rest of the night rewriting the situation in my head the way it should have happened...what I should have said and the way I should have acted. It's clichéd and overused, but life really is too short for regrets.
So no, I do not have any special plans for 2013, but I'm sure to see some special outcomes nonetheless.
Time to lay my next brick.
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