Category Archives: Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

On Being Prepared

I am not cut out for home ownership. There I said it. (er, wrote it.) Perhaps I should be ashamed at 36 to feel this way, but I don’t. At all. You can tell me how foolish it is to spend money on rent without building equity and I get the argument in cars, but HOUSES? No thank you. I liked renting. I liked not being responsible for yard work and maintenance and when shit hits the fan you call someone to deal with (and pay for) it. Sure, you may still have to live in the disaster of shit going wrong (hello kitchen that flooded, TWICE) but at the end of the day it is not yours nor is it your responsibility to fix it. I think this self awareness IS maturity (despite my parents’ guilt trip lectures.)

Flash forward to falling in love with someone who owns a house. Moving into someone else’s space is not ideal, but that is a post for another day. It is not my house, but I still feel an obligation to care for it in a way I never have before. Jesse has lived in his house for almost 15 years and it is beautiful and we share similar tastes in a lot of it and I am so proud of all the work he has done. Yet it remains a constant work in progress. He is capable of fixing and re-doing a lot of things but does not have the time to do so, and because he can do it he doesn’t like to pay others to do it. Which leads us to the only full bathroom in the house, which has been ripped apart for more than a year now. The shower is in rough shape (oh iron rich water how I hate you so) and continues to grow worse. Please note we have had the new vanity cabinet, new bathtub, and all of the new tile sitting in the house for months and months. Well the current shower has two knobs on the faucet that are broken and the third one came completely off the stem yesterday when I tried to turn off the hot water.

This was… not good. I was alone and there was water streaming at me that I could not shut off. I was naked and vulnerable and I panicked. I am unprepared to deal with a house on a holding tank with limited waste water storage when water is uncontrollably pouring at me. I was able to shut off the main water line to the house and dry off before composing myself and finding a wrench to get the faucet turned off. When I got home last night I had a long talk with Jesse about my need to feel prepared and what I was supposed to do in that situation and his response was that I should have called him. Um, I DID THAT. (He didn’t answer.) I did get praise for shutting off the main water, but I would have preferred to be prepared to know where it was ahead of time before I was in the basement dripping wet with a towel searching. I asked if there was a shutoff to the water in the shower (like the valves at the sink or the toilet) and unfortunately there is not.

I spent a long time last night with Jesse going through some scenarios of house disasters (flood, fire, garage door, etc.) because I like to feel prepared. I am sure I will still continue to panic in the moment but I like to know that I do know what to do. Please keep your fingers crossed we don’t have to shower with a wrench for much longer.

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Filed under Domesticated, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

It’s All Too Much

I thought I was doing okay. I am moving along, not trudging, not skipping, but moving along. Sure there are a few issues taking up residence, but that’s life and individually there is nothing horrendous signaling immediate doom. Then a random GLEE song pops on my ipod on the way into work this morning and I just lost it bawling in my car thinking about Cory Monteith.  Well that’s a sign I am feeling more fragile than I thought. Before I  put a stone on my chest and lie in the river ala Secret Life of Bees, perhaps I need to write down some of these issues. Perhaps more of a hormonal spring Festivus rather than my own personal wailing wall of grief, but hopefully getting this all out will provide some relief. (pretend these are formatted as simple bullets.)

Today is Tax Day. It is also the day my brother’s divorce was finalized and his broken heart never recovered. Now before I paint him as a victim, his ex-wife was fully justified in wanting to fix the mistake of their way-too-young marriage. I mean she went about it in a totally terrible way, but I cut her some slack because hello, who has the best relationship skills at 20? (NOT ME.) Anyway, my brother was already down a path of self-destructive behavior and bad decisions by this point, but he was also an incredibly sensitive soul who felt this rejection and smashing of his heart each and every day for the next decade. I wish things could have worked out differently for him and I wish I didn’t have the memory to have this hurtful date etched in my mind.

On the topic of relationship skills, and lack thereof, I am struggling with a personal communication issue. Just like people learn in different manners I know that communication styles are varied. I get this. Mars, Venus, the whole deal. I get it. The issue at hand is that J insists on communicating in a way that drives me completely up the wall and he knows it and does it anyway. Instead of asking if I would like to do something or instead of asking me to do something with him, he phrases it “are you/we going to (something)?” This turned into a huge fight last year when he never officially invited me to an out-of-state wedding for his cousin but then 2 weeks before asked “Are you coming to Jamie’s wedding?” I tried very hard to keep my cool and explain that the PROPER way to ask your girlfriend if you want her to come along is to INVITE her and REQUEST her presence. He thought that was an invitation. Despite numerous conversations about this approach, I still get questions such as “Are you coming over on Saturday?” or “Are we going to that wing place you like for the game?” as though we have discussed this topic previously and he is confirming prior plans instead of suggesting them for the first time or, you know, inviting me. Everyone I have talked to about this has basically said well tough shit, this is how he is, this is how he communicates. I do get I need to accept this and move on, but I hate it and it irks me (every effing time) and I don’t know HOW to get over it. It is a really stupid thing that reasonable people should be able to come together to fix in order to work in harmony, but we seem to be very Zax-like in this.

My mom needs surgery. Wonderful, amazing, hard-working, anti-cancer poison has kept my mom alive, but it is also destroying her joints (one of the most powerful results come from a drug that also weakens her heart. Lovely choices to make.) The woman trained so hard and finished a freaking sprint triathlon last year and her payback is having to get replacement hips? After some pain alleviating injections failed to provide lasting relief she had to have some x-rays. The doctor took FOREVER to get her results and I thought for sure her silence about it meant they found more tumors, so I am thankful the fix is a common orthopedic surgery.  Still, pretty pissed that in order to live my mom had to take drugs that will hijack the rest of her body piece by piece. I guess I should be thanking science that there are bionic fixes to keep her around, but I am still disgruntled nonetheless. It is not fair.

Pants. (Yes I have grumbles about cancer and pants on my list. I didn’t say all my issues were of great importance.) My pants don’t fit and I don’t like shopping for new ones and paying money to replace perfectly decent pants that I cannot find a way to continue fitting in to. Yes I am the heaviest I have ever been and whine about it, but the number and size is not what truly bothers me. The birth control method currently in use over here is a hormonal one and is the only option, for reasons, and although I know weight gain is a side effect, it coincides with everything just kind of shifting to a place where my pants don’t fit. Sure my eating choices can be atrocious and I am sure my age-related metabolism shift doesn’t help, but even if I am super strict and restrictive and I make a full effort to move my ass for needed exercise, nothing changes. The weight gain is not related to poor diet or lack of exercise. For the past year or so I have been in denial but since the birth control issue is not going to go anywhere, slowly I am adding pants that actually fit to my wardrobe. Last night I worked up the nerve to go shopping for some work pants to get me through the current period between stretchy corduroys and maxi skirt season. I can’t say I like past low rise styles by any means, but what the hell with this high-waisted, pleated bullshit that I seemed to encounter at every turn? Does that look good on anyone except a twig? (Jesus I sound like my Grams.) Since elastic waist stretchy pants are apparently NOT going to become the acceptable standard at work, I ended up getting some boring JCP Worthington pants because all I wanted was decent business appropriate pants for less than $60. Don’t even get me started on the peplum tops (still? go away!) or the acid washed jeggings I encountered. <shudder>

Work. There was a grace period where I thought there was going to be some real change in how the company I work for is run, but it seems that is not the case and once again mandates and hiring choices from our parent company are being pushed through without any regard for why they didn’t work out previously. It is aggravating all by itself, but I am also doubly angry for believing that things would get better. I don’t wanna look for another job. Ugh. I am also annoyed on the work front that in order to get anyone to do their freaking job around here you have to essentially tattle to their bosses. That is… not cool on so many fronts.

Everybody is a terrible driver this week. Is it really so hard to refrain from turning unless you are in the turning lane? My car is literally falling apart, but thankfully my horn works just great and has been used quite often lately. Oh, and then to top off my air of superiority I accidentally cut off a Fed Ex driver today. Whoops. I waved and shouted I was sorry, but yep I am included in my first sentence there.

Whew. I really needed that vent and there is no good way to end to this. Then I debate with myself why I even need an end, but I do. I was talking with a coworker about how hard it is to adult and why can’t I be more like so and so, and it reminded me of the relief I felt reading Anne Lamott’s words and the reminder to be kind to myself:

“Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.”

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Filed under Fine Red Whine, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

My Objectified Dozen

It is no secret that I love Magic Mike and am super stoked for the sequel. When declaring these feelings it came out that although I find Channing Tatum attractive and see his appeal, he does not make my “top 10”. Even (bad) feminist Roxane Gay approves of having such a list. When called out to name my actual list, I struggled narrowing it down to 10. Hell, I actually struggled to narrow it down to 20, but I think I have a strong dozen here that my imagination loves to dream about. When I started looking up individuals, their ages became apparent and well now… I guess I have some more daddy issues than I thought I did.

1. Bradley Whitford (55) – No not just Josh Lyman (though yes that character makes my heart flutter) but honestly I will gladly watch ANYTHING Mr. Whitford is in (this was a surprise gem that is worth your time if it is still available on Netflix) even when he has a jarring mustache and plays a ridiculous character. He is from Wisconsin and was married for a long time to Jane Kaczmarek (from my hometown!) which only makes him more attractive to me. When a friend got married she notified her husband that she expected a free pass if there was ever an opportunity to run away with or sleep with Tom Hanks. I think Bradley Whitford is my guy.

2. Jonathan Frakes (62) – Historically my #1. I watched a TON of Star Trek TNG as a child and bearded Riker was my genuine poster heartthrob the way NKOTB and Mark-Paul Gosselaar were for my peers. It was a joke around the neighborhood growing up and later when I reconnected and dated someone from my childhood as an adult, he had a photo cake with a smiling Will Riker made for Valentine’s Day as a surprise. It was really hot.

3. Eric Dane (42) – McSteamy. Even playing a gay man in Valentine’s Day movie could not dampen my attraction to this man. A FWB knows about this fantasy I harbor and has encouraged role playing at times. So steamy.

4. Joshua Jackson (36) -Team Pacey forevermore. I am also thoroughly enjoying him in The Affair.

5. Glen Hansard (44) – Another ginger in my top 5! I am going to see him (again!) on Valentine’s Day next week and I am so excited. Amazing voice, kind heart, ginger beard. (also he loves Kopp’s custard.)

6. Matt Damon (44) – Everyone who hears about this automatically says his name like in Team America. I don’t care. He is a cutie pie and has many attractive personal qualities too. Plus Good Will Hunting.

7. Alan Rickman (68) – Perhaps Hans Gruber is a throwback to my childhood and where my love began. All I know is that I would probably do anything for this man if I was lying next to him while he whispered in my ear.

8. Joe Manganiello (38) – BIG DICK RICHIE and one of the only redeeming characters on True Blood.

9. Ben Affleck (42) – So much hate exists for Ben, but I am a fan. Slow. Astronaut. Walk. (oh plus ridiculous singing. I do this for J whenever he has a trip. He loves it. Of course he does.)

10. Mandy Patinkin (62) – Sure my love began with The Princess Bride (Oh how I would love to run my fingers through that hair.) but it continues with Homeland. Papa beard does it for me.

11. Wil Wheaton (42) – Another Star Trek (and Stand By Me) childhood throwback, but damn this man has only improved with age (again with the beard!) and I enjoy his tweets about puppy dogs and burritos immensely. Also this.

12. Colin Firth (54) – Of course he rocked it in Pride and Prejudice (even if the wet shirt remains a conspiracy), but an all-around solid choice in a variety of viewing pleasures.

Notable mentions: Mark Ruffalo, Chris Messina, James Spader, Stephen Colbert, George Clooney, Taye Diggs, Jimmy Fallon, Heath Ledger, Jon Bon Jovi, and Richard Dean Anderson.

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Filed under (I Like Parentheses), Because The Internet Told Me To, Is This A Kissing Book, Of Course This Is About Me This Is My Blog

At Year’s End – 2014

I wanted to do this while I was off of work, but every time I thought about cracking open my laptop I had guilt about not checking work email. The formatting is wacky and there are not as many links and pictures as I would like, but I need to just put it up and move on. I went through these (questions courtesy of RA) before looking at last year’s and am not sure if I am relieved that my pants also didn’t fit last year or if I am horrified by the realization that it has been SEVERAL years since I have owned properly fitting pants and I gained weight once again. Anyway, here are some thoughts on 2014.

  1. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
    I turned 34 this year and in traditional fashion celebrated over multiple days (birthday week is TOTALLY a thing. A thing that is fantastic.) The weekend before I got one-on-one girl time with Caryn who helped make multiple birthday treats (I chose a non-frosted bday cake this year. Very strange.) and attended a work function at the zoo as my +1. On the actual day I went out to lunch with some coworkers – two were actually off so it felt extra special that they came out. We also ordered a scandalous pitcher of margaritas (which they filled me up on and then drove me back to work.) That evening I requested dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with Jesse. I don’t think he was very familiar with tapas style dining, but since we already eat off each other’s plates to begin with it was a lot of fun sharing all the food. Plus when I was indecisive between two cocktails he ordered one of each so we could try them both. The next day I had dinner with my parents – dad grilled my favorite salmon with mango salsa and although Jesse didn’t join us, he rescued me with a phone call to meet him for drink later on. That weekend I got to celebrate with Hillary and J.R. They got a sitter for their kids and we played minigolf before heading downtown. We ate glorious Cuban food, got tipsy, and walked around down by the lakefront in the beautiful weather. Afterward we headed back to their house and had a bonfire. It was one of the finest birthdays I can remember.
Let's just call this ungodly stomach a combination of food baby and exceptional poor posture. My love for the hated orange beams continues evermore.

Let’s just call this ungodly stomach a combination of food baby and exceptional poor posture. My love for the hated orange beams continues evermore.

  1. What are your strongest memories from this year, and why?
    My shitty, shitty boss finally being let go after causing more than a year of misery. Also making it to the 15-year mark with my company and getting an extra week of PTO.

Well my car dying in the middle of the freeway for no-known reason, really sticks out. Still have not resolved the “need a new car” issue, but thankfully that incident has not repeated itself.

Posted every day in February. Perhaps I will do that again.

Friends had to put down their beloved dog far too soon and it was devastatingly heartbreaking. I was overjoyed when they were able to welcome a new furry friend into our lives.

Before Jesse left on his abroad trip we went out for dinner. I typically order the mac and cheese at this place and mentioned a desire to get something else, but I still really felt the pull of wanting the mac and cheese. When our server came back he ordered the mac and cheese along with an appetizer mentioning they were “for the table.” It was just the two of us and it was super cute.

June was one of the biggest clusterfucks of a month I can remember in the last couple of years between a scary biopsy/whirlwind surgery/waiting for results and J being overwhelmed with an abroad class and generally acting like a terrible companion when he finally returned. Stress, fear, and sads are all hard to get through and there were many days I didn’t know how I was going to get through that trifecta. I am sure my tweets from that period are horrific and whiny, but it was the support system I could work with at the time.

My mother completed a triathalon through a breast cancer survivor study. My mother. OMG I am still incredibly proud that she stuck with all the training and COMPLETED this. I am in such awe.

This is my MOM. I cannot get over how awesome this was.

This is my MOM. I cannot get over how awesome this was.

Being bored and buying a bunch of eye makeup to play with at home that resulted in the STY that did not go away for more than 8 months.

Wedding season – we had 3 weddings in August and September and although Wedding Jesse is tons upon tons of fun, 2 out of 3 weddings were for his family and the level of appropriateness I needed to display as the new girlfriend was pretty exhausting (not to mention the caretaking and patience involved in handling Wedding Jesse.)

Some day he might learn to hold his liquor.

Some day he might learn to hold his liquor.

Getting to wear my dirndl for Halloween this year!

Lucky I had the dirndl or I would have had to buy a Ghostbusters uniform like everyone else at the party.

Lucky I had the dirndl or I would have had to buy a Ghostbusters uniform like everyone else at the party.

We made Christmas trains again. Last year Jesse brought over a rice krispies treat train kit and it was ridiculously fun. We had his brother and sister-in-law over this time to join in the festivities and it lived up to all the fun of last year.

Nicki Express makes her return as N2! (even if there are interloping Js this year.)

Nicki Express makes her return as N2! (even if there are interloping Js this year.)

  1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
    I had surgery under local anesthesia/spinal block. It saved thousands of dollars and alleviated some of my fears about going under (I do not do the best coming out from general anesthesia.) but after the anxiety of experiencing all the sounds of surgery I have no idea what I would choose if given the choice again. (Assuming my doctor would let me have that choice again, which now, probably not. Perhaps I would stick with the cost-saving local, just teamed up with a couple of shots of bourbon and a few unisom tabs for less… awareness?)

I was also not sick at all for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s for the first time in 34 years. I really wish I knew the secret to this so I could follow exact protocol forever and ever.

  1. What did you want and get?
    CLEAR MARGINS! The above mentioned surgery was sprung on me with no real notice or time to (over) process it or the preliminary results. Then due to illness and a breakdown in communication between my doctor, her medical assistant, and the Independence Day holiday it was almost 2 weeks to find out the official all clear afterward. It was not a fond time, but I got the best results I could possibly get and I am hopeful 2015 will not be a repeat.

A house that didn’t flood. I am forever thankful I rent and am not responsible for fixing flooding issues, but it was a nice respite to not have flooding in 2014 after the previous 2 years. Let us not speak of the drip I felt from the shower ceiling just before Christmas. That was obviously a fluke of condensation from an exceptionally steamy shower.

A working microwave! In lieu of flooding, my (built-in) microwave took a shit (I would bet money that the previous year’s flooding humidity caused issues to the circuit board) and would only work sporadically and even then in less than 90 second increments. A microwave is not mandatory, and sure I could have bought a cheapy one to get by, but when I have no counters to begin with, and it is IN MY LEASE, and broken for the better part of a year, it became a stubborn sticking point with my landlord. Anyway, the point of this was YAY I finally have a working microwave and it is wonderful.

Fergus Falls Otter T-shirt! After a failed mission to acquire this when we were there in August, Jesse made it a mission to find them on a return trip and surprised me (and his sister-in-law) with them at Christmas. I squealed with delight.

  1. What did you want and not get?
    A new car. (pitiful savings went to surgery bills)

A suitable non-hormonal birth control method. (humanity is terrible.)

6. What would you like to have next year that you didn’t have this year?

A planned vacation with Jesse that involves real time off of work and does not factor in attending a wedding obligation. (To be fair I understand that when you work full time and take an abroad class for a month, it is not kosher to take an additional vacation.)

  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Well I am unable to even say what my new year’s resolutions from last year were (or if I even made any) so I don’t hold out much hope that I have kept them. Although I embrace the #HoarderLife hashtag and have made many trips to Goodwill this year, I would like to be better about getting rid of the things that do not serve a meaningful purpose in my life. (To be fair, a back up VCR serves a meaningful purpose. Ratty contingency underwear that enables me to delay laundry responsibilities does not.) I’d like to be kinder in my daily demeanor and actions. I want to more often ask how can I help make something better and work to make improvements instead of just grumbling about some injustice. These resolutions are not quantifiable, but I am okay with that. I have to-do lists to track my tangible goals and tasks.

(Apparently I resolved to make a list of resolutions last year, but I am doubtful that was ever done. If it had been done it probably would have included writing more about my Germany trip and I really failed at that.)

  1. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
    Loyalty to a company that may not deserve it. Okay that doesn’t sound like a crowning achievement, but after everything that went down in 2013, when the company began making worthwhile personnel and leadership changes in 2014 I really wanted to give them a chance to see things improve. The company will never be what it once was and I have made peace with that. I don’t know what the coming year will bring, but I am proud of staying even if it sometimes feels like the easier path than making a change. (Looking back at last year’s I had something similar, though it was out of stubborn resistance to outlast a shitty boss and a few short weeks later he was gone!)

I paid off $6,500+ in medical bills in less than 6 months. (goodbye entirety of my savings and overwhelming majority of discretionary spending) This would not have been possible without some surprise commission, but I will count it as a personal achievement nonetheless since that bonus commission was earned, and it was simply a surprise I was actually getting it.

Forging a worthwhile and redeeming romantic relationship with a stranger I met online dating (who had every reason to call it quits after our first date.) Even when I am picking on Jesse and being astonished at how he has gone through 36 years of life thinking some are okay (which are definitely not okay) I am thankful every day to have him in my world.

  1. What was your biggest failure?
    I lost a friend this year and there are reasons and failings and confusion, but most of all I just feel wrongfully accused and abandoned and it hurts.
  1. What did you rely on when you were overwhelmed?
    Twitter. During my worst times I did not call upon my support systems for reasons both righteous and arbitrary and that was really hard (and pretty stupid.) An Ex who has given me no reason to think he would be upstanding on my behalf really came through for me when I reached out and I was thoroughly touched (along with once again feeling the classic sad thoughts that we have never found/ will never find a way to work out.)

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  1. What are your strongest recommendations for entertainment from this year? (books, television, movies, music, etc)

My reading this year was abysmal and often I struggled to read one book in a month for book club.  Notables from that were Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, Wild by Cheryl Strayed, and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green.  My favorite (non-bookclub) book this year was Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt  (notable mention awards to Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman, and Attachments by Rainbow Rowell) Again, these are well-discussed books almost all of which did not come out this year. I am not breaking ground promoting them, but simply nodding yes and adding my appreciation. I received books by Amy Poehler and Lena Dunham for Christmas that I cannot wait to dive into and will assume they will make next year’s list.

I think this year saw the fewest trips to the movie theater since I have had the autonomy of movie viewing decisions. Since Jesse is a giant party-pooper whenever I suggest going, I am thrilled to have made a new friend who likes going to see movies. We have gone twice so far and it is outstanding. Also, we received a DVD of This is Where I Leave You from Jesse’s parents for Christmas and I recommend it. I heard the book was really good and I might look that up even though I feel weird about the reverse order of seeing the movie first. It was not breathtaking or phenomenal (okay maybe Jesse actually watching a movie I asked to see was) but overall very enjoyable. We did not get to watching it until 2015, but since we received it in December and it came out in 2014, I am counting it. Go watch it.

As for music, I am sad to see the end of Yellow Ostrich, but so glad I got to see them in 2014. Field Report came out with Marigolden and it was thoroughly enjoyable to go to my favorite record store to purchase a physical copy and pour over the liner notes. I also received Wilco’s Alpha Mike Foxtrot rare tracks box set for Christmas. I haven’t been home enough since then to listen to all four discs over and over yet, but so far I am thrilled with experiencing the ebb and flow/distinct releases of a band I admire but cannot consider myself a die-hard fan of by any means.

  1. What song will remind you of this year?
    Well, Take Me To Church by Hozier  became a running joke as the radio would not stop playing it every hour and now we have bets on whether we will hear it every time we get in the car. (I did not link to YouTube as the video is pretty violent.)

Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off is exceptionally catchy and due to some behind the scenes circumstances it makes me smile every time I hear it because of this local video.

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year (not necessarily from the song that reminds you of the year).
    “Don’t you think it’s time to change
    And maybe become a better you”

“Karma” by Lady

  1.  What was your most enjoyable purchase?
    I bought myself Jeff Tweedy tickets as an early birthday present. Although Jesse is not a fan, he followed decent boyfriend behavior and came with me (on a weeknight!) The concert was at my favorite Milwaukee venue and it was worth every penny of the stupid online surcharges to get tickets during the pre-sale.
  1. Did you travel? If so, where?
    Went to Baltimore to see a dear friend get married and stayed an extra day to visit with my cousin and her hubs. So delightful and I am still thinking about the delicious biscuit (bigger than my hand!) that we got at the Farmer’s Market. Natalie and Paul also introduced me to the Fargo miniseries, which was one of my favorite TV shows this year.

Roadtrip with Jesse to Fergus Falls (western Minnesota) for his cousin’s wedding. Lots of driving, lots of giant animal statues, and lots of alcohol. It was outstanding and I love his family.

I wanted to take him home.

I wanted to take him home.

Geneva, IL spa trip to the Herrington Inn with Mom. Even though Mom threw out her back the day before we left (rolling a giant rotting pumpkin FTW) we managed to have a great time. I was pampered and spoiled and rubbed. Another excellent year of our mother-daughter overnight tradition.

KarenNickiHerringtonInn2014

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?
    Action. Follow-through. Enacting Change. I spent a lot of time this year feeling hopeless and that circumstances were being done TO me.
  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    Hmmmm, my first thought is perhaps less stuffing my face as I am at least 10 pounds heavier this year and most of my pants don’t fit.
Worth it.

Worth it.

  1. Compared to this time last year, how are you different?
    I am trying really hard to improve my communication and be more upfront in admitting when something is bothering me or my feelings are hurt. This is also my first relationship without the responsibilities of a dog so my house is not the default. It is an adjustment to compromise on where to spend time, so I am trying to live up to the personal belief that when it truly means more to one person, that person’s vote is weighted heavier. Basically it is very strange to not be the one with the superior bed.
  1. Compared to this time last year, how are you the same?
    Sometimes I am too outspoken and stubborn when I know that I am right and frustrated that others do not agree (A charming trait, I know.) I still love to make a giant mess in the kitchen and have a fridge full of food, though I am begrudgingly increasing the frequency of going out to eat when that is what someone else wants to do. Dear god I still love to sleep a lot.
Sleeping alone is overrated. Always better with a bear.

Sleeping alone is overrated. Always better with a bear.

  1. What’s a life lesson you learned this year?
    It is really hard to sustain constant outrage in our society. There is always the next terrible thing around the corner to divert attention.

Puppy Hugs Snoopy

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There’s Hair Everywhere

I have no idea what to do with my hair. As someone else in my life seems to have very vocal opinions on its length, I have taken that under consideration over the past year partly under an effort to be nice and partly under pure laziness and inability to actually do something about it. He complains often about hair shedding, but I refuse to listen to such things. I shed like crazy and if long twisty hair on every surface is so bothersome, I am more than happy to buzz cut it. (I dream of a world devoid of hair style options, despite knowing I would look hideous showing off my lumpy head.)

I do not have a great track record with hair stylists. For most of my life my hair stylist was my former Sunday school teacher, Mindy. (Also visited by my mother and grandmother, now her daughters work in the salon too – legacy, sunrise/sunset and all that…) She is overpriced, but her willingness and talent at perming my hair gave her lots of leeway. Mindy threatened to never perm my hair again after one in 1997, though I begged for one before a backpacking trip in 2003 and she obliged complete with major eye roll over the un-trendiness that defines my existence. Then in 2006 she contacted me about a free perm if I would sit for longer (beyond the 3+ hrs it normally takes to roll my hair) while she demonstrated on me to other junior stylists in her salon (many of whom had not done a perm since graduation). I was excited for the freebie and to sit for her and be fawned over. The entire salon was disinterested and downright rude, plus Mindy still charged me her insane rate for the pre-perm haircut, which felt like a bait and switch after I took a half-day of vacation to sit for hours. The real breaking point came a few years later when guilt-ed into giving her another chance (via gift certificate from my mom) Mindy cut my hair in the once fashionable wedge shape with it shorter in the back  (ear length) and longer in the front (chin length), despite my insisting that is an un-maintainable style for me (who must have hair off of my face). That wedge only looks good when doused with product, blown out, flat-ironed, and not pinned back – all things I rarely manage. After a couple weeks of stringy, chunky hair tucked behind my ears, I went to a walk-in chain to have it evened out.

A few things about my hair and lazy lifestyle:

  • although I have a lot of hair, it is super fine in texture with minimal volume
  • my hair is neither straight nor curly, more like frizz that turns stringy if you look at it wrong
  • my hair will slip out of braids, buns, and non-friction clips or ties
  • my hair has never been colored or highlighted
  • hair product (#YesAllProduct) makes it immediately look greasy
  • showering at night only works for when I need greasy hair for a formal updo
  • I have never personally blow-dried, curled, or flat-ironed my hair successfully
  • I do not have a standard side or middle part and fail at keeping a part intact for the day
  • I cannot stand hair in my face – it must be pinned back.
  • Ponytails give me headaches

My established looks are to perm my hair – a basic coating of mousse and air dry (lazy person’s dream – just spritz to refresh), french braid my hair (doable but slips out under any sort of exertion), or put half up in a barrette. The last of which has been my standard for 25 years  though I’ve endured constant mother criticism for grade school appearance for it. Last winter I started taking the front forehead section and pinning back with a bobby pin which seemed to fit my requirement for no hair in my eyes while appeasing her with a deviation in style.

Since the breakup with Mindy, I have had my hair cut either from salon gift certificates won somewhere or walk-in chain stores. I had one promising stylist that was convenient, reasonable, and agreeable, so of course she moved away. I aim for getting a haircut 4 times in a year, but it seems to be closer to 2 or 3 lately.  I have no idea how to style hair – I fail at mimicking a blow out at home and this same lack of coordination carries over to curling irons and flat irons as well. Plus I cannot even pretend to not care as I can’t stand it pulled back into a ponytail for more than 20-30 minutes.

I feel hopeless and defeated, but got some inspiration from twitter this afternoon and I may try some new products and velcro rollers. Surely it has to go better than last winter’s experiment with eyeliner that caused a persistent sty for 10 months. Well at least better than my chances of some day winning the lottery and finding someone who can be my personal assistant for vacuuming and blowdrying.

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Bursts of Rage

Call it rage, call it annoyance, sometimes there are just things (stupid, little, non-malicious things) that get me so worked up and make me want to scream. I find the following unacceptable:

  • color paper clips
  • wire hangers
  • when people say what they want/need and expect an unprompted offer of assistance instead of asking for one
  • leaving closet doors open overnight (though I recently got called out on this as I frequently sleep with bedroom door open just fine. Is sleeping with the bedroom door closed a guy thing? a roommate thing?)
  • being left waiting due to an intentional disregard for punctuality (there is a difference between habitual 10 min late personality and selfish/lazy inertia)
  • senior coworkers micro-managing simple tasks
  • cold soup
  • plastic tampon applicators/packaging (total finicky high horse – I will defend tampons themselves until kingdom come, but cannot understand why so much plastic needs to be involved)
  • comfortable leggings being trendy without an equally popular rise in selection of ass-covering tunics
  • hormones – or basically why this post has been brought to you (if it wasn’t blatantly obvious)

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Pre-Contemplation

I can be fairly suggestible. Hell that’s how I joined FB, Twitter, even started this blog. Back in June after eavesdropping on a My Fitness Pal discussion on Twitter I downloaded the MFP tracking app. It is no secret that my eating habits are pretty atrocious. Even 2 minutes into a conversation a friend remarked, “wow, you’re really heavy on the carbs.” Obviously I opted to make my food diary open to friends because I enjoy being entertaining with my spoonfuls of cookie butter and counted out chocolate chips of desperation.

Observations so far:

My work environment is a detriment to my health. I rarely leave my desk during my shift and and can often pound down an entire box of crackers by 11 a.m. I am sure boredom and dissatisfaction with my job also play a role in my face-stuffing habits, but the computer-staring monotony does not burn calories regardless.

On weekends and vacations I do not snack all day and rarely eat 3 meals.

Although my dog was old so she didn’t walk fast or far, that was still 2+ walks that no longer exist in my daily routine and it shows. Forget 10,000 steps. I am far often under 1,000. I need more walking before my legs completely atrophy. (Yes I’d like another dog eventually, but that isn’t under consideration right now.)

My alcohol consumption has increased significantly over the years. Not to a worrisome degree or level in and of itself, but eye-opening when each portion is tracked. Two or three drinks throughout an evening does not phase me until I see it laid out. Those are calories that I would definitely prefer to go towards butter and ice cream.

Actions so far:

Better portioning – I am no longer bringing entire boxes of crackers or cereal to work. I portioned out Goldfish and Wheat Fats into the suggested serving sizes. I am even measuring my cereal and milk at breakfast. I mean I was definitely still eating 2 servings in the beginning, but one with milk at home and one dry at the office to combat the carb munchies habit. I am not eating any crackers before noon (mostly). I don’t think I will ever get to the point of eating only 2 TB of hummus (#TeamHummus), but portioning out 4 TB instead of sitting down with the whole tub is a start.

One-for-one drink tradeoff – I have always been good about drinking lots of water, especially at the office. When I am feeling snacky, I now force myself to drink a full glass of water. This helps me judge whether I am hungry or just bored and want to munch. When indulging in booze I am trying to have a glass of water for every drink I consume. This seems like logical behavior but it does not always happen, so at least it is moving to the forefront of my mind as a goal.

Pushing for increased movement in everyday actions with more walking and stairs – I am trying to park farther away in the vast suburban parking lots. It feels weird to park my rust bucket car out in Guam but this seems to be an easy thing to do as I am rarely rushed during errands and the weather is nice. Not sure it is going to hold up once I am forced to cross slippery slushy pavement in the arctic temperatures. We shall see.

Drinking seltzer – I have swayed back and forth on diet versus regular soda so many times. I see both sides and I understand the wisest decision is to just not drink soda period. I don’t handle caffeine well anyway and that seems to be one of the major justifications for soda. I think it is a tasty treat to break up plain tap water and I like the carbonation and the acidic feel so I have caved into feeding my love of seltzer water. The environmental impact of this consumption (of bubbly WATER) is not lost on me, but it does feel like a nice treat in the afternoon without the guilt of mass amounts of sugar or fear-mongering chemical alternatives. Again, I am not sure the crisp, cool refreshment will be as delightful once the weather turns.

Where to go from here:

I do not have any specific weight goals. A friend in my book club called this pre-contemplation. I am thinking about thinking of doing something. I am still hesitant to get a scale as I have a history of developing a fixation on that. I go to the doctor often enough so I feel that should be sufficient to see if there are results in the poundage department. I think I set the MFP goal initially to lose 5 pounds in 10-12 weeks or something to that effect.

Mostly I want to not continue down this slippery slope of my pants not fitting and feeling bloated and lazy. I have sensory issues to begin with when it comes to pants and with my terrible posture exacerbating my belly fat it gets really uncomfortable in pants that are too tight. With a very sedentary lifestyle indicated, MFP set me at a goal of 1,500 calories per day. It is reasonable and doable (rum and popcorn dinners aside.) I was doing really well and have always been honest about the tracking (what is the point of fibbing?) but I took a break for a couple weeks around my birthday simply because it was getting obnoxious to see the overage when tracking 4,000 of celebratory calories.

Eating is only a part of the equation and even being under calorie goals is not going to get the results I want. I need to start moving my butt more. My office building is tiny and we are basically in an industrial park so there is not much room to walk even if I was somehow graced with the initiative to do it. I have had gym memberships in the past with very limited success and I haven’t found many home videos that don’t make me suicidal. My favorite activity is swimming, but absolutely hate sharing a lane so I lose all motivation to go when it is convenient (at peak times when everyone else wants to swim.) Since this activity side of things is kind of at a standstill, right now I am trying to focus on what I can do: stop piling the food into my mouth and be meaningful and accountable for what I do shove in there.

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