Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Glog, I've been forced to ground myself for a few days, resolving to never drink again again.  This past Saturday, Indiana hosted Penn State football in Washington, DC.  (It's some ploy by NFL stadiums to convince universities that they will increase enrollment by traveling around the country.)

Naturally, since my house is only 1.5 hours' drive from DC, the family roosted at my little nest before heading down to Fed Ex Field.  And, naturally, we had a few cold ones.  My diet for the day (to the best of my recollection):
  • one cupcake topped with cute little caramel turkeys with pretzel legs, stuffed with more cake crumbs, and sitting on a bed of green cornflakes that looked like lettuce.  Very cute, and very caramel-y.
  • four to five cookies of various flavors and sizes
  • one piece of pumpkin spice flavored sticky bun
  • one moderately sized brownie
  • one mystery dessert which I will deem a "maple bar"
  • a few bites of crab dip on crackers
  • a test bite of taco-flavored ground beef which looked like it was something made of brown sugar
  • one slice of spice cake with orange glaze
I think that about sums it up.  All of this was consumed before 11am, and, you will note, was carefully orchestrated to eliminate nearly all nutritional value from the system. The family fried a turkey, and made all the trimmings including mashed potatoes, corn, and green bean casserole - but I was a stuffed bird.

Top my buffet with several shots of Canadian whiskey and several more cans of domestic swill known to vast majorities of the population as beer, and you get a small glimpse of my state of mind later in the evening.  (And if you did happen to glimpse my state of mind?  Please let me know how awful it was.  Because I can only assume - very.)

After a brief time passed out napping in the car, I was returned to my sofa, where I took in about six hours of shut eye.  And then, for some reason, I didn't feel very well and ended up thinking about how I could have cleaned the toilet last Thursday instead of watching TV.

I hate when I have to ground myself before holidays.  My goal for Thanksgiving is to remember to eat a vitamin or two, and to keep the correct end pointed at the porcelain.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself...and Geese.

 Click here.  I promise, it is funny. 

Every day, I take a walk around a man-made pond near the office, and every day, I must deal with a couple of geese.  I have a healthy fear of geese.  They can be pretty mean, you know.  When I was a kid, I had a friend whose parents raised geese and it was her job to feed them.  She was terrified of those suckers.  So, perhaps, this is where my personal fear began.  Or perhaps I am repressing a horrible Incident.  Maybe my fingers are actually grafted on, because my original appendages were bitten off by irate geese.

For whatever reason, I HATE walking past these two geese.  Usually I have a friend who makes me feel ever so slightly safer, allowing me to scamper past them with my head held high.  But the other day, I had to walk between the geese because they were situated on opposite sides of the path.  I considered not taking a second turn around the pond, or walking a different, non-goose infested route.  But honestly, these two particular geese have paid even less attention to the humans near their pond than George Bush paid to the Constitution (zing!).  I thought about how SILLY and IRRATIONAL it would be to change my plans because of some freakin' geese!

So, boldly, I continued to walk along the path.  My hands began to sweat, and my heart began to race.  I clenched my fists and thought about how I would fight if, per chance, I were attacked.  I tried to calm my brain, because animals can smell fear.  I tried to take deep breaths and act large and in charge.  One goose crossed the path to join its mate as I neared.  It was slow and deliberate.

I squelched what appeared to be possibly tears.  It was definitely some sort of leakage.  I tried to laugh at myself, about how SILLY and IRRATIONAL this was.  I walked past the geese, giving all the appearance of calm, cool, collected, and most definitely, not, freaking, out.

And nothing happened.  I walked past the geese, and they held up their end of the bargain by pretending I wasn't there.

I would love to tell you that next time it will be different, that I will march along and not even notice the water fowl.  But that would be a lie.  I am just wondering - don't these guys know they should be flying south by now??

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

No Soup for You!

I was just sittin' here killin' time because "my stories*" aren't on yet.  I decided to check on the ole' facebook page, mostly out of boredom, when one of those targeted ads off to the side got me. 

I hate those ads, and I hate them even more when I am tempted to click on them.  I know they use "cookies" and my internet history and keywords to determine what I might like.  What I find frightening is how danged accurate they are.  I often get ads for Phish related paraphernalia (tickets and CD's of course - what are YOU thinkin?), cooking related gizmos, and books by Stephen King.  I also get a lot of things about sustainable buildings and structural engineering books and I'm all "Ha, ha.  I have no interest in that when I am in my PJ's and not at work!!  You don't know me, Man!"  And then I start getting Weight Watchers ads as if even my computer needs to remind me that I could stand to lose a few pounds.  It probably heard me talking about the (shh!) Netbook I plan to buy.

Today's ad was from Victoria's Secret, implying that by a simple click of my mouse I would be re-directed to a site where I could buy (drum roll...) Penn State underwear!  This combines my love of unmentionables with my joy of buying overpriced crap that happens to have a Penn State logo on it!  How could I resist?

Well, I was sorely disappointed.  Not only does clicking on the "exclusive Pink collegiate collection" website take one to a general ad listing all universities, the model in the ad is wearing Michigan clothing.  Also, when one does get to the Penn State page, one finds that A) the stuff is not Pink and B) it is not underwear.  In fact, one finds the exact same stuff to be found at any Penn Sate clothing store on campus, and it costs an arm and a leg (just like at any Penn State clothing store on campus).

That's OK.  It is perhaps for the best that I do not have underwear that says "WE ARE" across the back...

* Umm...yeah.  That would be "Criminal Minds", the crime show...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Thanks a Lot, Mr. Fanklin

It's that time of year when time starts messing with my mind.  It always takes me about a week to get used to "falling back" and even longer to adjust to "springing forward".  Last spring, I missed the memo on the topic and showed up an hour late for yoga.  I was so PISSED!  So this time around, I made it a point to remember to change the dang clocks.  Unfortunately, I never just change them all at once.  I usually get the oven clock first, which is near the door and most often used for (ahem) timely departures.  When in the car, I get that one.  At some point, I might get the microwave, but then I tend to get mixed up.  Did I change the bedroom one?  Or not?  I might end up with as many as three hours difference in the times noted on various clocks, and then I have to consult the cell phone, because it knows all. 

My mom doesn't know how to change her car clock so she just leaves it.  It is correct for half the year, but I can't remember which half.  I know I "fixed" it for her once and she was unaware of my nicety, so she did her usual compensating only to be two hours late for dinner.

My cat, who is oblivious to time change, does know what time it is in the morning.  She has "Time to Stomp on Nicki's Kindeys So As She Will Get Up and Feed Me" time, she has "Time to Sit on Nicki's Lap While She is Trying to Eat So As She Might Give Me Some Food Time", and she has "Time to Avoid Nicki So As She Will Not Give Me a Pill Time."  So, kidney-stomping time commenced as usual on Monday, but it was ineffective because Nicki was sleeping for an extra hour.  Or rather, she was trying to sleep an extra hour, but that is difficult to accomplish once kidneys have been stomped upon.

Throughout all this confusion, I wondered:  Who thought up this crazy idea, and just how much crack was he/she smoking?  Sure, light in the evening, saving energy, blah, blah, blah.  But what about the fact that we willingly subject our bodies to a sudden and dramatic shift in its sleep patterns and eating times?  Regular sleep is the one thing that doctors agree could cure all ailments and save the whales.  Or something.  Anyway, its important.

Turns out, it was Benjamin Franklin who thought up daylight saving time - as a JOKE.  Seriously.  He wrote a letter about how people in Paris weren't getting up before noon and the sun was rising at 6am or earlier and they were missing at least 6 hours of daylight, so he figured Parisians should be banned from using blinds and they should make it 7am for the sun so they'd miss less daylight.  He also suggested loud church bells or, and I am not making this up - cannons be used to rouse people out of bed.  He argued that if people got up before noon they might go to sleep earlier and burn fewer candles thus saving a lot of money.

So, thanks a lot Mr. Franklin.  Thanks to your little joke, it is common practice to wake before noon, and the government is rationing my candles.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Life Begins at 90

I have to admit I stole this title and picture from my brother's facebook page:

Yep, this is my grandmother, who turns 90 years young today.

And yep, that's a bottle of Crown Royal.  But the cigarette is a fake.

She is on her way to the party we threw for her a few weeks ago, since her actual birthday weekend happened to be a Penn State home game.  We had a 1920's theme, since she was born in 1920.  It was a lot of fun, but the best part was seeing a 90 year old light up with a smile that would rival any 3 year old at their birthday party.  She invited everyone, and I mean everyone, she knew.  Her hairstylists, her mailman, her cleaning lady, a person she hadn't seen since she was 12, some random guy at the supermarket - all invited. 

All I can say is, her 100th birthday party?

might need government subsidizing.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUBBIE!  I can't wait for the next!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Maybe Sometimes Excuses Are OK

Operation "Get Back to Gym" aka "Mova da Butta" is well into its second week.  I read the beginning of an article this morning about how one should stop making excuses for skipping the gym.  Things like "I forgot my sports bra", it says, should not be acceptable since there are plenty of things one can do (such as lifting weights) that do not necessitate the binding constraints of a sports bra.

Meanwhile I am thinking, "Sports bra? 90 percent of the time, I forget my whole gym bag."  In fact, I keep a spare set of (ugly) clothes at the office, complete with old sneakers.  (The ugliness is an attempt to make me learn my lesson and remember my s**t the next time.  It doesn't work.  If I cared what people thought about my appearance I would probably not be taking dance related classes at all.)

Today, I forgot my hair tie.  Normally, of course, I avoid this issue because I keep a stash of about 20 hair ties in my bag, thus allowing me the chance to disremember putting it back in the bag now and again.  Unfortunately, I haven't figured out how to put an infinite supply in there.  So I ran out.*

Plan B (technically Plan C if you count "remember-to-put-hair-tie-into-bag-you-dumbass" as Plan A) is my typical MacGuyver move.  I get my hair into a braid, then slip my ring over the end, and slide it up as tightly as possible.  I have thin hair so this usually holds pretty well. 

Not today.  I don't know if my hair got thicker or my ring got smaller.  Had to have been the hair. Maybe it's the hard water at the house. (Please ensure Adam that my ring size remains a 5.) 

Anyway, I was really struggling.  I thought I could just work out with my hair loose, and then I swallowed a hair and it got caught in my throat.  I'm in the middle of this class, trying to pry a hair out of my throat by alternately gagging myself and horking up hockers.  (Does anyone know the proper spelling of "horking"?  Spell check can't find it....)

Needless to say, it was very gross.  Not to mention distracting.  I wasn't getting many of the step aerobics moves in between gags.

Finally, finally, I came up with this, which is actually still in place now:
Ok, it's a little blurry (you try taking a picture of your own head), but it is the ring and a small hook that came on my water bottle, gathering up about three quarters of my hair.  I got this in place about halfway through the class.

And you wonder why I haven't been to the gym?

*Also I was 10 minutes late, because another common reason for skipping the gym is that I get caught up in whatever I am doing at work and suddenly it is too late to get there in time for a class.  (Yes, they have treadmills.  Evil, boring treadmills.  Yuck.)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lefty Loosey

Where Haven't I Been?
I haven't been a lot of places, like Tahiti or Hawaii, or Kansas.  And lately, I haven't been to the gym.

I am trying - no! going! - to change that, and it all started last week.  Again.


It is very very easy to divert myself from this goal, and I LIKE going to the gym.  For instance, tonight, I wanted to vote.  This requires that I drive near my home, and then drive away from my home to the gym.  It also requires that I attend a much dreaded class called Body Jam due to the change in schedule.  Even with careful pre-planning and mental pep talks about how Body Jam is not totally terrible and I might be able to keep up, I still found myself sitting in the car after voting, at a traffic light without a turn signal.  (For you Marylanders out there - this signifies that a car intends to go straight through the light.)  "Hey, Slacker!!" my brain yelled, "the gym's THAT way!"  My left hand flicked on the turn signal just in time.  (Once again Folks - the blinking light on the left?  Means I'm turning left.  Crazy, I know.)

So there I stood in Body Jam.  This is a class that uses dance moves to trick participants into exercising.  Personally, I think its stupid because you are already at a gym so you'd think it was obvious that your motive is to exercise.  Also, it is too hard.  But mostly stupid.

Putting the negativity away, I resolved to really try this time.

The class was going pretty much as it always does to about halfway through.  The instructor was yelling out "Now, flick!  And twirl! And step, step, glide!"  And I was having trouble flicking on the correct foot, leaving me to miss the twirl, causing my neighbors to gracefully crash into my non-moving patoot while I hurried to the final "glide" position.  This would all be fine except (for me) that when I spend most of my time avoiding being stepped on and looking confusedly at my flawless classmates, I don't break much of a sweat.  Granted, I'm not exactly sitting on the sofa eating leftover Halloween candy (mmmm...Butterfingers....)* but I'm still not getting the workout I hoped for.

So right about then, I had an epiphany of sorts.  Use the left brain.  It's the left brain that's creative and artsy and natural.  It's the right brain that's practical and learned and uses correct grammar.  I thought maybe, if I could concentrate less on the actual steps and more on the movement, I might be on to something.

You see, my job makes me use the right brain waaay more often than the left, and poor Lefty is a little neglected.

But then I remembered a scene from wedding I attended this past summer:
HIM:  Why are you wearing those shoes if they hurt when you walk?
ME:  (flicking foot in the light)  Dude!  Look how glittery they are!

So, Lefty's still in there.  She just has to hunker down and hide as I navigate my way though the male dominated office space on a daily basis.  Today in Body Jam, I let 'er loose.

And it actually worked.  I realized I didn't have to look at the instructor's feet or arm movements as much.  I listened for the verbal cues and heard the music.  Suddenly, the class was becoming fun and I didn't even have to watch the girl in front who never missed a step.

and then THUD!

The girl was writhing on the floor because her knee popped out of socket (or something - I actually tried not to listen too much as this kind of talk tends to make me feel like I will pass out).  Point is that the class stopped because the girl was injured and she said this awful thing with her knee happens all the time and it was suddenly all better and then she walked out.  She didn't even limp.

I feared all this knee popping talk might cause me to lose my zen, but it didn't.  When class resumed I was back on track, not necessarily getting every step right but at least not crashing into people.  And I was actually having fun and breaking a sweat.  It was great!

I think I will stop avoiding this class so much.  It might be good for me to step out of the comfort zone and let 'Ole Lefty out for a spin now and again.

*and I forgot how yummy Twix are!!