Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Eve is on December 24th, I think

I took a crack at myself back in January by saying it takes a rare talent to break all of your New Year's resolutions in the first week of the year, and I'm going to take another crack at myself here in December even though it does not require any special talents to forget what day it is; however, it does take an absurd amount of stupidity to not realize that it is Christmas Eve when you have 30 people coming for dinner that night.

Yes, you read that right. I forgot it was Christmas Eve on Wednesday and it didn't occur to me until my husband phoned home from work at 3:00 to see if I wanted him to pick up anything from the grocery store on his way home. I had 3 hours to clean the house I had ignored all month, get a shower, and decorate for my family's annual Christmas Eve party at 6:00.

And don't let me confuse you, I did not forget that I invited 30 people over for dinner on Christmas Eve, I just didn't realize that Wednesday was Christmas Eve, I thought it was on Thursday. I thought I had a whole day off work to get ready for a party taking place the next day. Like I said, an absurd amount of stupidity is required.

After talking to Jon and enduring the anger and frustration that violently radiated from him through the telephone line to me, and quickly rattling off a very short grocery list (which I had planned to pick up later that night for the party tomorrow) I kicked it into high gear and began frantically cleaning, running from here to there with what felt like lightning speed, and then quickly showering and blow-drying and straightening my hair, and throwing clothes in the washer so I wouldn't be forced to wear the dingy workout pants and sweatshirt I'd had on all day. I lit candles, turned on the tree lights, set up random Christmas decorations and I was finally ready.

I'd pulled a party together in 3 hours. I even had a spare 15 minutes to sit by the fire and flip through Christmas specials on the television before people began arriving. I did it, but I will probably never live it down.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Absent Minded

The past 2 weeks have kicked my butt. At any given time you could find me in one of the 4 following places:

1) At work. That's a given.

2) At my dining room table doing more work. Working overtime at home is convenient but I don't think I've ever been in my dining room for 3 hours straight until last night.

3) At Target. I'm the one standing in the middle of the main aisles looking like she's about to cry. Gift shopping has never been this hard for me before, my creative juices have usually kicked in by now. Finding something for anyone has been extremely difficult this year. I don't know if it's me being too picky or that there just isn't the same selection as there has been in years past, but I've bought and returned 3 gifts already (one within 24 hours of buying it and the sales clerk was sure to razz me for it). I've decided I'm waking up extra early tomorrow to head out into the madness and finish this once and for all. I'm just not sure how I'm going to do that.

4) In bed. A girl needs her sleep and right now I feel like I can't get enough of it.

On the bright side, our Christmas tree is finished. I successfully merged my "fancy" tree with his "family" tree and came away with the most beautiful tree I have ever decorated. 

I kept the white lights, added red beads, and hung all of our homemade and keepsake ornaments (yes, even Montgomery Moose), and topped it off with a bow. It's simple, yet somehow elegant.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What's with all the bomber jackets?

Me: "Hey, while we're here, do you mind if I look for a winter coat? I don't have one that fits."

Jon: "Sure, but I can already tell they don't have anything that looks like you. See? This one looks like your little sister and your nieces. This one looks like something your grandmother would like. Oh, and this one looks, that's just plain ugly."

Me: "Do you see that girl over there, the one wearing the short blue peacoat? That's what I'm looking for."

Jon: "You mean something that screams 'I listen to Death Cab for Cutie and wish I was invisible'? Yeah, that's totally you, but they don't have anything like that here."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ba Humbug 2008

Jon and I kept making tentative plans for putting up the Christmas tree but they kept falling through, mostly because he's too busy with work and exhausted by the time he gets home, and because I'm just not particularly interested in dealing with it this year. For the first time in my life I actually contemplated not having a Christmas tree and I was perfectly okay with that. Odd.

I suspect it's due to one or more of the following reasons:

1.) Decorating for Christmas brings out the worst of my obsessive compulsive tendencies. I've been working very hard to stave my self-diagnosed OCD and I think I've done incredibly well, but just thinking about watching Jon put the lights on the tree and not weaving them in and out of the branches to get perfect coverage and even spacing was making my blood boil. I know that sounds terrible, and like I said, I'm working on it, but a constant need for perfection has been very hard to break.

2.) There isn't much money to go around for gift-giving. Everyone is feeling the crunch and it just means that I have to be that much more creative with my gift ideas this year, but I feel so incredibly cheap, and non-creative.

3.) Christmas equals winter and I'm hating winter more than ever this year. I'm constantly cold, and it feels like I'm constantly driving in crappy weather. I have to get over this fear of driving in snow if I'm going to survive this winter, but I keep waiting for/expecting the bottom to drop out. I'm not allowed to be this satisfied in life (with everything but the Christmas tree) and since I am so satisfied, something terrible is going to happen, like losing control of my car, swerving into on-coming traffic, and facing death, which two women have already done this year on one of the main roads I take to and from work.

Anyway, plans didn't fall through tonight. Jon and I got the bare tree up, and I walked out of the room as he put on the lights. It looks okay. Unfortunately, I couldn't decide where to go from there so that's as far as we got. I guess the important thing is that it's started, and now that it's started I'll inevitably finish within a few days.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Don't believe the pie

For those of you who are just dying to know (yeah, right)--yes, I did eat the world's most sugary apple pie for breakfast and I enjoyed every bite of it. The only problem was I had been expecting an early sugar high and then sharp drop a few hours later, but what I actually got was an instant downer. Who knew so much processed sugar would do nothing for me nutritionally? Oh, yeah, I did, but I was so sweet on that apple pie that I actually believed the lies she told me.

Hah. Okay. Yeah. I have been completely lethargic all day. I should have been in bed 46 minutes ago and I am moments away from thumping my head on the desk so I've got to get some sleep.

Tomorrow breakfast will consist of hearty oatmeal, and then I swear I'll be able to put a coherent thought together.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why when I say 'I don't want any left overs' I should really mean it

You wouldn't know it from my silence, but I've actually got plenty of blog fodder dating all the way back to mid-November, and now that I'm not frantically cleaning and readying the house for a Thanksgiving dinner for 26 people I should, by all means, have the time to write some of it down, but in true Kate fashion something else has caught my attention.

I say "something else" like it's no big deal, but this particular "something else" has me ranting and raving and for the life of me, I can't get it out of my head. You see, there's this deep dish apple pie in my refrigerator and she's calling my name. She's slowly and seductively chanting the reasons I should eat her and it's all to the beat of my own heart.

baked apples...

sweet syrup...

sugary crumbles...

flaky crust...

Every time I say NO, she says YES, and I'm having a really hard time concentrating with all of this noise. And as if that wasn't bad enough, I wake up each morning to a single plate on the counter top with evidence that part of her was heated up and topped with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Apparently, she's having a late night affair with my husband. I can almost feel her smirking behind my back.

Sure, sure, one slice of apple pie won't hurt me, but I'm having a hard time justifying it when I spent the weekend gorging on pumpkin pie and cool whip.

But have no fear--I've decided to get it over with already, so I'm going to eat the wench for breakfast tomorrow, then maybe we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And We've Only Seen 3 Inches

I promised myself that I wouldn't gripe too much about the weather this winter, but I bet you've noticed my silence. I have to find a balance between writing for pleasure and complaining about snow, so I just have this one story to tell and then I swear I'll find more interesting things to write about--like the other morning when I walked into the kitchen to find the empty carton to a six pack of beer on the counter top and a bottle opener in the refrigerator. The best part about that story is that he doesn't remember a thing about it.

So anyway, back to the weather.

If the last two days of snow are any indication of what we're in store for this winter then I know two things for sure: 1) It is going to be an absolutely beautiful winter, and 2) I will be unemployed by the end of it. If I have to spend even one more night fighting traffic for TWO hours to get home I may just gladly give my house and cars and other expensive belongings back to the bank if it meant finding a new job within walking distance. That was two hours spent banging my hands against the steering wheel and screaming, "How long have you lived in Ohio, asshole?! Why the fuck do you have to relearn how to drive in snow every year?!" Yeah, road rage is rare for me, but when it hits, I talk like a trucker.

So yeah, here I am sitting in traffic for a really long time, and despite my cold demeanor I'm actually very, very scared. I was really confused by my fear because I'm a good driver, probably even more so in the snow because I'm that much more cautious. I know all of the rules--slow down, keep good distance from the car in front of you, pump your brakes, and keep your hands on the wheel at all times. It's really not that hard, just be careful, and watch out for the idiot in the SUV who thinks they're invincible.

I felt the strangest thing driving home last night, slowly creeping along in unison with hundreds of cars ahead of and behind me. I had all of these people around me, and yet I felt so incredibly lonely and scared. The loneliness was understandable because I wanted to have someone in the car with me, to talk to, to help the time pass, but the fear was confusing because I felt I had mastered the snowy, icy roads of last winter and as little as a few days ago, I felt completely ready to meet them, but here I was on the second real snowfall of the year, ready to cry like a baby because I was afraid of dying. That's the only difference I can find between this year and last--I wasn't afraid of dying last year. I wasn't necessarily suicidal, but I didn't have any enthusiasm to keep going either.

This year is entirely different. I feel like a frosty film has been lifted away from my entire body and I can see and hear and feel things so much more clear now. I want to live. I don't want to die in some random car crash on slick roads.

There was a postcard on PostSecret a couple of weeks ago that could have been my own if only I had been genius enough to come up with it. It said something along the lines of, "We have never been more poor, or more in love." Man, I really wish I could remember the exact wording but my memory is sucking at the moment. Anyway, I feel that that is undeniably true in my life right now. I have never felt more strapped or confined in my life, but I truly feel more happy and free than ever (read: I hope these people can learn how to drive in winter again, because I want to keep kicking).

Monday, November 10, 2008

Another Tree War in the Making

This morning the rooftops had a thin layer of white frost, the last of the leaves had fallen, the birds had finally headed south, and my steering wheel felt like a block of ice. It's like it all happened over night. You'd think I would have hardened myself to cold by now, yet it shocks me every year. Winter is just so gray here.

On the bright side, I'm always most excited about the holidays at the end of October/beginning of November. The first signs of lighted Christmas trees and red and green ornaments make my heart flutter.

I can already feel the need for a fancier Christmas tree churning. That's probably not good news.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Random Thoughts, Part 2

Tuesday night’s election was awesome, inspiring, and renewed my confidence in democracy.

I can see the sky from my backyard again, but I have to stand knee deep in leaves to look at it.

I woke up Friday morning to find this note on the kitchen counter:


Hey love, I like your butt too!

Saturday night is the absolute best time to go grocery shopping even if it is humbling to be squeezing and sniffing produce while all your friends are out having dinner.

A man who was neither old nor ugly hit on me the last time I went grocery shopping on a Saturday night, so maybe it’s not so humbling.

2 more months and George Bush will be forced to stop making a complete mockery of the U.S. with his frat boy antics. I cry tears of joy every time I think about it.

I have to give my little sister that gigantic jar of unopened Jif peanut butter shoved in the back of the cupboard.

Do peanut butter cookies taste good when made with all natural peanut butter?

I think I watched Macy die and then come back to life on Thursday morning. One minute she was walking, the next she was dry-heaving and stumbling, and before I could get to her she was on her side with her legs sticking straight out and didn’t appear to be breathing. I’ve never felt so frightened and helpless in my life. Luckily, the moment I touched her she shot right up and climbed into my arms.

I need some new music to listen to, and preferably something new from The Format. Too bad they called it quits back in February.

3 more pounds and I’ll be under 200. October was an absolutely terrible month weight loss wise. Damn you McDonald’s and your evil Monopoly pieces--Ronald should be hanged!

Dear God, it’s not like I have to get pregnant right now, it’s just, you know, a sign that I’ll be able to give birth sometime in the foreseeable future would be fabulous. Love, Kate.

I am 2 hikes away from getting that totally cheap yet rad hiking staff that I could easily make out of a broomstick, but I think it’s going to be too cold to hike tomorrow. I'm bummed, because I really want that hiking staff.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Pick Me Up

“Are you binge eating?”


“Then why are you shoving handfuls of Doritos and M&Ms into your mouth?”

“It’s called emotional eating. It only looks like binge eating because I’m trying to get happy very, very quickly.”

“Don't be stupid. It’s not worth it, Kate.”

I’m going to ignore the fact that Jon was stumbling drunk when we had this conversation and take away from it what I can.

This weekend from Saturday morning on was pretty rough. I think it was mostly due to a lack of sleep on Friday night and taking part in a lot of over-thinking. I let all of my fears and worries roll up into one big ball and I let down my emotional guard, releasing a flood of teary gibberish on everyone I saw, but fortunately I didn’t see many people.

I won’t go into a lot of detail for the sake of privacy, and also because sometimes I can’t explain why I react to things the way I do, sometimes I fall off my rocker without good reason and once I’ve fallen I decide to wallow in it for a while. When in Rome…

When I pulled away from my emotional distress I came to the understanding that although it may not always end on a pleasant note, every relationship with every person I've ever known has had a purpose. And even though I've always criticized Jon for not being as empathetic and understanding as I feel I need in a time of sadness, I realized that he isn't here to coddle me. At a time when I think all I want to do is stare at the ceiling for days, he's there to tell me to snap out of it and pull myself together. He won't sugarcoat anything and most of the time he doesn't let me ramble on and on about what's bothering me, but this is a good thing, because somehow he understands that letting me ramble is only going to let me wallow all the longer.

All these years I'd thought Jon was a little callous and completely unsympathetic to my needs, but I've finally realized that his purpose in my life is the most important--Jon's purpose is to make me a stronger person.

All those years I spent writing about being stuck in a hole that I couldn't climb out of, so I was given a guy who's willing to stand at the top of that hole forever and demand that I climb back out every time I slip.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My New Persona Plays the Guitar

Last night I reached a major milestone in my life: I was able to upgrade my Rock Band guitar level to medium difficulty. I know, I know you might as well stamp DORK in big bold letters across my forehead, but I can’t help myself. I understand that I’m not making the music myself, but because I have control over whether or not the music plays correctly, it’s pretty easy to convince myself that I have at least a little inkling of musical talent for the first time EVER. I reach ecstasy somewhere between the long chords of The Who’s Baba O’Riley and foot-tapping swiftness of Modest Mouse’s Float On. Last night we even downloaded Nine Inch Nails’ Capitol G and I couldn't control myself. I think I might have even gyrated a few times.

Jon is unable to comprehend the monster he’s created. He’s been begging me to play for months, but the only thing I was willing to attempt was singing, and that got very old very quickly. I decided to give it another shot when I took my mental health days and I managed to get hooked on the guitar and all of its rainbow colored buttons.

I guess that's 2 things he got me addicted to in just a couple of days, but let me tell you, he may not have been gloating about getting me hooked on Heroes, but the man can't wipe the huge grin off his face every time I go running for the Rock Band guitar. He's beaming with bright rays of satisfaction because he finally has a real band mate. It's embarrassing really, but I'm having a ton of fun.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lazy Sunday Morning

"We should probably get out of bed before we waste the day away. What did you want to do?"

"Get rich. We should start our own business."

"What kind of business?"

"First we have to decide what our business will do. What kind of talents do you have?"

"Hmm. I don't have any talents."

"No? Got any awesome dance moves?"


"Can you make any new noises?"

"Hmm. Nope. I've got nothing."

"Okay then, let's eat breakfast instead."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

All Sorts of Crazy

Last night’s dinner was a complete bust. I took a dish I’ve made a dozen times using white rice and tried to sub it with whole grain brown rice. It didn’t work out and I ended up with a very soupy casserole with crunchy rice, mushy broccoli, and 2 wasted chicken breasts. While I sulked Jon cleaned off the chicken and preserved it as best he could for chicken salad at some point, threw away the rest of the atrocity that was our dinner, and handed me a jacket.

We found ourselves at the local sports bar watching the beginning of the World Series over each other’s shoulders while we shared a bowl of hot chili topped with cheese and onions and served with blue corn chips. It was warm food to fight the cold air outside, it was deliciously dangerous food, and it was oddly intimate sharing despite the obvious fact we were in a very public sports bar. I quickly realized that this is what I love about us; the satisfaction we both get from simple things, the comfortable silence, the peace we keep amid crazy surroundings, and the contentedness from just being together. I never would have thought sharing a bowl of chili (which the waitress later admitted is purchased in bulk from Wendy's...) with my husband could make me appreciate what we have so much more.


Tonight is set to be a very symbolic one--I’m finally doing it--I’m finally giving away all of my old clothes to Goodwill. By the end of the evening my closet will be empty but for a few pieces I've kept over the years as Someday Clothes, you know, those clothes hanging in the back of your closet that you just can’t seem to part with because someday you might fit into them again? I actually had quite a few items I kept for this purpose, and I do finally fit in to some, but most will be making the trip to Goodwill because they’re too big now. I’m going to be left with next to nothing to wear, and I’m both excited and frightened by this.

The minimalist in me is excited because I will be freeing up wasted space and purging, purging, purging. There won't be anymore hunting through a rack of clothes for something that doesn't resemble a potato sack when I put it on. My closet will be calm and organized for the first time in I don't know how many years.

The 35 pounds slimmer me is excited because she sees this as an opportunity (and excuse) to shop more. She's thrilled to buy new pants, sweaters, and jackets that don't come from the plus size department (thanks to vanity sizing no doubt, but still) and she can't wait to take the next step in reinventing herself.

The sentimentalist in me has a different view though. She thinks she's giving up a part of herself by letting go of the things that have helped her hide all these years, things that characterized who she was. She's giving up a part of her that she doesn't want to forget, because no matter how hideous or sad that girl was, she had a hand in making us who we are today, and who we want to be tomorrow.

Whew. Yeah, okay. I'm going to stop there because I'm way over thinking this. I'm giving up my clothes because winter is coming and hopeless people need help keeping warm and my clothes can't help them from the rack in my closet where they will hang the entire time. They can, however, do some good if I give them away, so that's what I'm doing.

I'm fidgety. It's weird. I'd better get this over with so I can keep a normal train of thought again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

7 Ways I Reclaimed My Sanity During My Mental Health Days, Maybe

1. Slept until noon every day. I never let myself sleep in late on the weekends because my mind is always bombarded with things I have to get done. I said to hell with it this time though, and stayed in bed for 3 extra wonderful hours each day.

2. Took the guest bedroom from one extreme to another. As if being a 26-year-old adult with clothes covering every inch of my bedroom floor, even though I leave a laundry basket in the corner at all times wasn't embarrassing enough, I'm also a very lazy adult who, instead of putting things back where they belong, I stash it all in the unused guest bedroom until the guest bedroom is rendered useless. In my defense, most of our storage space had been taken over by my parents and I was out of ideas of where to store all of our Rubbermaid tubs, Christmas decorations, old furniture, and miscellaneous boxes, but Jon and I finally took a truck load of stuff back to them, reclaiming our domain, and clearing out most of the guest bedroom in the process. That's not to say that I was completely innocent though, because I still relieved the room of 3 bags of old junk/trash and all kinds of crap that already owned a designated spot somewhere else in the house. I began with a room that had approximately 4 square feet of standing/walking space and ended with a guest bedroom with only a dresser and a twin size captain's bed. It took a total of 4 hours not counting the time to transport my parents belongings.

3. Watched Heroes, and a lot of it. Even though Jon refuses to admit he's been trying to get me to share his Heroes enthusiasm ever since he borrowed Seasons One and Two from a friend, and even though he refused to claim victory when the show finally caught my attention while I was folding laundry on Saturday night, I don't believe him. It most certainly was his plan all along to get me helplessly addicted to yet another television series. I was caught hook, line, and sinker dead smack in the middle of Season Two. We were up until at least 2am on Saturday and Sunday finishing the borrowed disks and catching up on Season Three through Instant Netflix so we could be all set for the new episode on Monday night. Oh yeah, he won't admit it, but he is totally soaking this up.

4. Washed, dried, folded, and put away ALL of our laundry. See numbers 2 and 3. It took 2 days. Enough said.

5. Chopped firewood. Actually, I watched and cringed while my pale and delicate gamer handled a wood splitter for the first time. I kept thinking of how lumberjacks were supposed to be a turn-on like the way women swoon over the Brawny Guy in all his plaid glory. I kept thinking of how I was supposed to be thinking, yep, that's my manly man, handling an ax like he was born just for doing this, but all I could really do was watch Jon in all his Rock Band t-shirt glory as he nervously swung the ax and struggled to do more than chip off a small splinter of wood. I had visions of him missing completely and swinging the ax right into his shins, or of the ax bouncing back from the log and hitting him square in the forehead. I was convinced we would make a trip to the emergency room before it was all over. But to my surprise I was completely wrong. Jon struggled with the first few logs, but he perfected his swing and quickly found a rhythm, and before I knew it we had an entire winters worth of wood piled in the garage. My pale and delicate gamer had done me proud.

6. Went hiking. We're participating in the Metro Park Fall Hiking Spree this year. The only thing we have to do to participate is hike 8 of the 15 preselected trails between September 1 and November 30. Not only is hiking a good way to keep us moving but it's also free entertainment, and in this economy, who doesn't want free entertainment? We knocked out quite a few trails on our time off, including Furnace Run in Richfield which was absolutely beautiful doused in all the fall colors.

7. Acquired a new pet. I hate spiders with a passion, but I have a certain moral code to follow when it comes to killing them. Basically, if the spider is outside, not bothering me, I'm not allowed to touch it, but any spider (or bug for that matter) that is within the walls of my home is fair game. So when I spotted the small spider in our bedroom I was ready and willing to kill it, but this sucker was smart and kept to the ceiling where I couldn't reach it. I saw it every day for about a week, and every day it was well outside of my fatal reach. Then it caught my eye one morning while Jon and I were laying around in bed for one of the 3 extra wonderful hours and I pointed it out to him in the hopes he would do my dirty work for me, but in true Jon fashion he opted not to kill it, but to name it instead. He named it Jesus using the Spanish pronunciation of Hay-soos. I didn't see anything wrong with this at first until one night when I noticed Hay-soos had moved from his usual perch over the bookshelves and had positioned himself directly above my head. Jon followed my gaze to the ceiling and finally agreed to kill him, but then we ran into a problem, because how can you kill anything named Jesus? Hay-soos is alive and doing well.

Friday, October 10, 2008


My mom forwarded this email to me back in January and I keep going back to it every once in a while for reassurance of something, of what I'm not quite sure, but I can't bring myself to delete it. I'm always stumped by #8 though, because I can't for the life of me think of who this may be, but then again, I guess that's the point. Anyway, I think the fact that I can't get rid of this is proof that I'm just a big sack of gullible goo.

This should probably be taped to your bathroom mirror where one could read it every day. You may not realize it, but it's 100% true.

1. There are at least two people in this world that you would die for.

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.

5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.

6. You mean the world to someone.

7. You are special and unique.

8. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.

9. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.

10. When you think the world has turned its back on you take another look.

11. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Upside of Down

After the time I took today and tomorrow I'll be down to 1.5 vacation days to get me through to renewals in January. I'm stretching it thin, but I know the signs of needing mental health days when I see them.

The first sign of accumulating to do lists showed up a few weeks ago, followed shortly after by disinterest in my day to day life, and the mother of them all, the one with the power to debilitate me if left untreated happened on my drive into work on Tuesday. I don't know why it always comes down to this, but what happens is I ask myself, in a very degrading manner, how can you even think about having kids when all you ever have is a load of chaos on the brain? And then I think I'm right--I have no right to force this upon an innocent child. How could I--a woman of chaos and negativity--have ever believed that I deserved something so beautiful and precious? And I walk around in a sad stupor for 2 weeks.

That's so me--I'm not pregnant, I don't even know if I can get pregnant, but I'm always putting my non-existent children first.

The good news is this is totally avoidable--well, the stupor, at least--because turning in that sheet of pink paper with my request for time off is like handing in my admittance ticket to Disney World. The possibilities are endless, the freedom comes in abundance, and I can do whatever the hell I want, including but not limited to, work on that stack of to do lists or sleep until noon and lounge around the house in my pajamas until midnight. Obviously, I always perk up after requesting time off for a mental health day, and as an added bonus, in case my pessimistic view of the world was particularly determined to take me down this time, I took 2 mental health days. So sure, I may be stretching my time thin for the 4th year in a row, but I feel absolutely marvelous at this very moment in time.

I don't have an itinerary for what I'll be doing these next couple of days, but so far today I have managed to get in a good workout, weigh in at the lower end of the yo-yo scale I've been battling for the last week, eat blueberries in my breakfast cereal, watch 10,000 BC, and write a decent portion of a blog entry. And it's not even 5:00.

Things to do yet:

1. Take another hot shower.
2. Eat homemade black bean and cheese burrito.
3. Relieve the spare bedroom of its current catch-all state.
4. Finish reading Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.

Yep. I would say things are definitely looking up.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Katie and the Geek

Q: What's better than having a husband who downloads the entire soundtrack from the animated 1986 Transformers movie to his iPod?

A: Having a husband who can give you an intricately detailed and joyfully reminiscent play by play of each scene in the animated 1986 Transformers movie while listening to the soundtrack on his iPod.

Sorry ladies, but you're going to have to find your own geek. This one is all mine.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Giggling Like a School Girl

Because we find the fortunes in fortune cookies dull and uninspiring, and because we both have the mentality of a 13-year-old, Jon and I like to add "in bed" to the end of our fortunes. I got this one in my most recent cookie:

In order to discover who you are, first learn who everybody else is in bed.

When I look back on my self-discovery days, I see myself frantically scribbling bad poetry in spiral bound notebooks, and I can't deny that it probably would have been a lot more fun and memorable to have found myself through promiscuity.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Deaf, Dumb, and Adorable

We've been suspecting that Macy was going deaf for a while now, or I should say, Jon has been suspecting Macy was going deaf for a while and I've been thinking she has the same selective hearing problem she's had since we brought her home. It didn't take us long--only a matter of minutes after walking in the front door with her for the first time--to realize that she's the kind of dog that only marches to the beat of her own drum, but she is willing to give your drum a try so long as there is adequate compensation involved, preferably of the edible variety, and extra obedience for rice. She's never taken commands well unless her commander was carrying something she desperately wanted to devour, so to not have her listening now really shouldn't be all that alarming, in my opinion at least. She has me second-guessing myself lately though, because she's been partaking in vary odd behavior, even for her.

Last weekend, on Sunday afternoon, I realized I hadn't seen Macy in over an hour which rubbed me the wrong way because she's usually on my heels 24/7, her and Jack forming a small train behind me anywhere I go in the house. Her stealthiness had me worried because I have this really awful habit of getting lost in thought and closing the door to a room I've been in without first checking to see if all the members of my little dog posse made it out with me. Poor Jack has been left behind in the garage, spare bedroom, and the enclosed back porch before because I didn't pay enough attention to what I was doing, so I immediately jumped to the conclusion that I'd left Macy stranded in a room somewhere, and more than likely in one of the three places I just listed.

I did a quick search of all the usual spots, also checking under the bed and end tables where she has a tendency to fall asleep. When I didn't find her I began to freak out, calling her name throughout the house, bringing Jon in on the process, and when she didn't turn up, we started to debate over whether or not she had followed me back inside after I'd taken her out an hour or so prior. I was 99% sure I remembered her walking in the back door with me, but that didn't help us because there have been plenty of times when I thought I was 99% sure and it turned out I was dead wrong. This is why you should never list me as your phone-a-friend if you're really serious about winning that money on Millionaire.

The biggest problem with me not being positive that she followed me back in the house was that our little free-spirited Cockerspaniel has a secret escape route from the backyard that Jon and I have not been able to find after almost 2 years of searching the fence for holes and having stake-outs at the doors and windows facing the backyard to see if she'll play Canine Houdini while we're paying attention. This meant our search area increased from a measly 1300 square feet to roughly a mile of woods and dead end streets. I say only a mile because she may be free, but she's still slow, so we figured we at least had that in our favor.

Jon went outside to canvas the neighborhood, checking her usual haunts which are pretty much all of our neighbors who also have dogs, calling out her name every few steps. I stayed in the house pleading with Jack to show me where his sister had gotten to, all the while complaining because I could swear I heard her snoring but I couldn't make heads or tails of where it was coming from. I was still convinced I'd closed her up in a room somewhere because I was still almost sure I'd brought her back in from outside.

This went on for about 20 minutes. We must have called her name hundreds of times, inside and outside of the house. The only thing we could really do was wait and see if she came scratching at the front door like she usually does after a neighborhood rendezvous, or if she got fed up with whatever room or hole she was stuck in and started whimpering. I figured this may take awhile, especially if she stumbled upon a giant bag of stuffed animals which, sadly, we have stashed in various places around the house, or if she was locked up with a tub of dog treats.

After we'd resigned ourselves to settling down and waiting, everything became very quiet, and lo and behold, we could hear muffled snoring coming from a room we hadn't checked--the sun room--to which the french doors were wide open. We walked in, glancing at the couches and under the tables, but to our surprise she wasn't in any usual spots. We had to laugh when we finally spotted her sleeping soundly on a large, blue beanbag chair I'd stuffed in a corner behind one of the french doors and completely forgotten about. At most she had 6 inches from the inward opening door to the wall to squeeze through and nestle herself into the unused beanbag. How were we supposed to know to look in a place none of us--humans or canines--had ever acknowledged before?

We laughed, we called to her, we knocked on the door as if asking permission to enter her private room, but she didn't wake up. We had to actually pull the door back and tap her on the head before she opened her tired, bloodshot eyes and yawned at us. It was at that moment that I finally admitted that maybe Macy is going or has already gone deaf.

I guess it's happened again since then. While I was at work on Tuesday Jon had to launch another house-wide search for the vanishing dog. It didn't take quite as much time as the Sunday search before he found her in our bedroom, nestled in a basket of folded laundry I hadn't gotten around to putting away yet.

We won't know for sure until we take her to the vet to find out whether or not she's deaf or if her ears just need cleaned out again, but as more and more time passes everything is starting to make a little more sense. Her bad hearing would definitely explain why her muffled whine while begging for food from under the dinner table has turned into an incessant screeching. If she's losing her hearing then she doesn't realize how loud she is, and since I'm not giving her any of my food it must be because I can't hear her, or so she thinks. Truth is I hear her loud and clear, just as the neighbors 2 blocks over must hear her and grumble about those yuppies down the street who are constantly losing and abusing their dogs.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How I Know I Wasn't Adopted

"So, I hear you're down 30 pounds already. What kind of foods are you eating?"

"Fruits and vegetables."


"And whole grains. I try to avoid enriched flour."


"I also eat lean meats like chicken and ground turkey. And I've read that you should look at beans as little diet pills, so I eat a lot of black beans."

"Oh, well that won't work for me."

"Why not?"

"I don't like any of those things."

"But Mom, that's why it was hard for me at first--I had to make myself like them."

"Yeah. I can't do that. I'll have to find something else."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Revising a What If

Jon and I went camping with a few friends last May over Memorial Day weekend, and aside from the teeth-chattering temperatures and blood sucking mosquitoes that lurked in the night air, we had a really good time. We'd brought enough alcohol and s'more makings to last a month and we didn't dare let any of it go to waste.

I'm bringing this up now, 4 months later, because on our last night there, while huddled around the campfire, I was asked a question I haven't been able to get out of my head since:

If you were stranded on a deserted island with only a CD player and 5 albums, what albums would you want to have with you?

It seems like a simple enough question, but music is extremely important to me. I've even been known to be so dramatic as to say it's the reason I breathe, it's what pumps the blood through my veins. My mood, whatever it may be at a certain time, determines the music I have to have with me at that time, just as the music I'm listening to determines the mood I'm in. I mean, I named my freaking iPod for crying out loud! I live it and I love it and I have been banging my head against the walls since Memorial Day, trying to pick just 5 albums that could satisfy me for a lifetime.

My original answer went a little something like this:

1. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
2. Ani Difranco, To The Teeth
3. The Decemberists, Picaresque
4. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
5. Death Cab for Cutie, Plans

I knew it was wrong a mere 2 minutes after the list left my mouth. Could I really stomach another 10 years of Little Earthquakes after it was the sound track of my teens? It's a great album, I still think Tori Amos is amazing, but I overplayed her big time, and she may bring back too many lonely memories to bare while stranded on a deserted island, alone. And not 1 but 2 Decemberists albums? Really? Do I not need more selection than that when I've only got 5 choices to begin with? And Death Cab for Cutie is great--a little more mainstream than I would prefer--but I don't think it's so much Death Cab as it is Ben Gibbard why this album is on here. Truth be told, if I wasn't married, I'd be all over Ben Gibbard like Mary is all over Michael Phelps in that AT&T commercial. Oh right, I'm already like that, but whatever. The point is I'm not so sure Death Cab is the direction I should have taken with that last pick.

So, I've had 4 months to think about this and I've come to the conclusion that this just isn't possible. I need the musical equivalent of Netflix on my deserted island so I can switch out my albums every couple of weeks.

It is possible, however, to pick 5 albums I would take with me if I were leaving on a cruise tomorrow. We can just pretend that my ship sank but I awoke to find myself washed up on the shore, and 20 yards away was a waterproof bag containing a CD player, an endless supply of batteries, and my 5 albums:

1. Modest Mouse, Good News For People Who Love Bad News
2. The Postal Service, Give Up
3. Kate Nash, Made of Bricks
4. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
5. Ani Difranco, Revelling

There, and I even still have me some blissfully poetic Ben Gibbard, just in his mailman persona. Now, to make the list absolutely perfect, I really do need one of the other cruise passengers, God rest their soul, to have stuffed The Decemberists Picaresque into a little zip lock baggie and send it floating on over my way. I don't know how I'll ever make it forever without hearing The Engine Driver again.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Girl Disappearing

“I know this is a personal question, but are you losing weight?”

“I am.”

”I thought you looked slimmer! How are you doing it? Weight Watchers?”

“Nope, I’m just eating right and exercising.”

“Well good for you! It sounds so easy, but it’s hard, isn’t it?”

“It was hard at first, but it’s gotten a lot easier with time.”

“Well, you look great. It’s really starting to show.”

I’ve lost 31 pounds since May 22, 2008. Even though 31 pounds sounds like a lot, I don’t see much difference in the mirror other than smaller hips and more defined leg muscles, so I have to rely on comments like the one above from a co-worker, and the fact that I am continually moving to a smaller notch on my belt every couple of weeks as reassurance that I’m doing this whole weight loss thing right. 31 pounds doesn’t show a lot on me, because in the big picture, I have a total of 110 pounds to lose before reaching my ideal weight. Of course, now I only have 79 to go, but that’s a piece of cake, right?

Actually, with the exception of that first month when I lost a lot less than I had hoped, it has been relatively easy. Once I was able to accept “slow and steady wins the race" where weight loss is concerned, and that losing nearly 8 pounds a month actually rocks, I began to look at all of this as second nature. I have changed my life. I have changed my relationship with food. Food was once something I ate because it tasted awesome and made me happy for a few hours, but now it's something I eat to fuel my body and help it run as efficiently as it can.

I also learned very early on that I shouldn’t deny myself anything, even absolute junk, because depriving myself of something I really, really wanted was an express ticket back to my old eating habits. I have to watch portion sizes, but because I eat junk less frequently, and because I still find a way to work it in to my daily calorie allotment, it hasn’t slowed my progress at all. I’ve lost 31 pounds even though I still eat at Chipotle once a week on average--I’m just not having McDonald’s for breakfast, and Burger King for lunch beforehand.

I don’t know why I’m rambling about this. I’m not trying to sell you on anything, I swear. I think I’m doing this more to satiate my own shock, actually. I can’t believe I’ve come this far and I’m not miserable or ready to give up. As someone who resigned herself to being fat for the rest of her life, I’m shocked I didn’t give up the first day. I wasn’t happy where I was even five months ago--I was inconsolable, in fact--but I didn’t know how to change something that had always been, so I just accepted it, and appreciated the fact that my husband loved me exactly as I was even if I didn’t understand why.

I’m ashamed of how stupid I was, to have yielded as easily as I did and not trying to do this sooner, but the truth is I was defeated back in elementary school when I was called to Principal Kimbal's office and told that someone with thighs the size of mine should only wear shirts that came down to their knees. Yes, I just typed SHIRTS, not SKIRTS, and it was on purpose. Apparently, my childhood thighs that fit into a size 10 jeans (no, not an ideal size for an 11-year-old, but not nearly bad enough to merit such attention) were too hideous for her to stomach and should be covered, completely, and preferably by a bulky sweater. Principal Kimbal tried to teach me about modesty, but really only walked away with a huge chunk of my self-esteem. A few years later, in middle school, a scrawny kid named Josh asked if I wanted some butter to go with my rolls. He was just trying to be a jackass, and I knew it, but he may as well have dealt me his best right hook and shattered my cheek bone, because he left me with an ugly scar to carry all these years. And while I can’t blame my old principal or Josh for letting myself get morbidly obese—I’m the only one to blame for that—they, and the comments of a few others, broke me mentally.

As a result, I disappeared into my own little world. I tried to become invisible thinking people wouldn’t comment or poke fun at something they couldn’t see. The problem was I couldn’t hide from myself. I am my own worst enemy, and I am a brutal critic.

But in the last 4 months I’ve found myself again. I’ve found real, honest to goodness happiness within myself. I’m not willing to let it go anymore. I’m not giving up. I look and feel phenomenal, and having people notice only provides that much more validation.

I started this little journey at 242 pounds. I was 242 pounds of blubber with eyeballs and a big heart. I am now down to 211 pounds with some muscle definition and a relatively tight butt. My ultimate goal is to get down to 132 but that’s not set in stone. I’m taking it 1 pound at time and if I decide I’m happy at 150, I’ll stay there.

I’m still a girl disappearing, but this time it's not into my head, it's in my own clothes.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Dear Lord,

Thank you for Friday. I was beginning to think it would never get here.

Yours faithfully,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

An Uncanny Resemblance

I should be in bed right now, but I thought I'd log on to the internet real quick to see what I'd missed throughout the day, and of course there was something I couldn't resist mentioning.

When Jon is really concentrating on something, like hitting a nail on the head with a hammer, lining up the ball for a foul shot, or gunning down villains in a video game, he has the tendency to stick out his tongue and fold it up over his top lip.

So when I saw this photo of Chuck I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My "Spanish" Comedian

They say having a television in the bedroom can kill romance, but it’s a double-edged sword in our house. The romance is already dead if neither of us can get enough sleep, so we go back and forth with the TV argument all the time. I need the murmur and soft lights of the television to fall asleep and Jon needs pitch black and silence.

We've been able to work it out most recently by me going to bed an hour or so earlier than he does. I turn on the TV, watch an episode of Home Improvement or something of equally mindless entertainment, and slowly drift off to sleep. Jon will come in when he’s tired, turn off the TV, and rest in silence.

It was working out just fine, until a few nights ago, when I started falling short on my end of the bargain and staying up a little too late, forcing the two of us to be heading to bed at the same time. But surprisingly, there’s been little arguing, only a few minor instances when threats of separate bedrooms came up, but it was fairly easy to come to a compromise: I could keep the TV on only if he had full control of the remote (read: he could watch ESPN highlights). I agreed and have been falling asleep to football analysts predicting this year’s Super Bowl Champions even though it’s only three games into the season.

Last night was a little different, though. I’m assuming he got his fill of sports from Monday Night Football, because he abruptly flipped to a Spanish soap opera before settling into bed. I must have been extremely tired because I didn't think anything of it. I didn't even realize the expensive-looking man was consoling the very distraught woman in Spanish until Jon started doing voice-overs:

“Please, darling, you have to tell me what’s bothering you.”

“It’s just…I can’t believe you could do that…how could you burn the dinner rolls? Tonight was supposed to be beautiful, and now it’s ruined!”

“Oh, my love, I am so sorry. You must know I didn't do it on purpose.”

“You didn't? You mean you still love me? Then I forgive you!”

“I do! I love you so much, I promise I’ll never burn another dinner roll for as long as I live!”

I waited until he was finished before I gave him the crazy eye. I had two things in mind after watching his acting debut: 1) WTF? and 2) There was no way this was his first time creating impromptu lines like this; his timing was a little too in sync with the actor’s emotions, he didn't struggle to come up with material (although it probably should have involved a murder or an affair--instead of dinner rolls--to properly fit a soap opera), and he wasn't laughing at himself. My husband is a freaking pro at adlibbing Spanish subtitles.

“What?” he asked when he noticed me eyeing him from my pillow, “Haven’t you ever done that before?”

“No. I can’t say that I have.”

“Oh. Sometimes, when there’s nothing else on, I just turn to the Spanish channel and pretend like I know what they’re saying. It’s some of the best television I've ever watched!”

If I had to choose between romance and witnessing my husband’s goofy humor for the rest of my life, it would be his humor, every time. He doesn't know it yet, but he just forged our new bedtime ritual.

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm Even a Coupon Clipper

I felt the color drain from my face, and I heard Jon let out a whoosh of air when the cashier said our total was $94.98. That’s $95 dollars for one week’s worth of groceries, for two people. I felt the urge to throw myself down on the scuffed linoleum floor, kicking and screaming about the insane prices of everything from strawberries to toilet paper. I imagined the whole scene; me, on the floor, screams eventually fading into a soft whimper, my legs stop kicking as I slowly curl them up to my chest, and I begin quietly begging God to stop corporate America from continually raising the price of dog food so that, you know, maybe I could eat, too.

We blew budget by twenty bucks, and I really shouldn’t have been surprised. We blow budget all the time anymore--on everything--not just groceries. Every time I pay bills I open the Excel sheet containing our monthly expenditures and I’m constantly tweaking something--moving money from the planned savings column to the gas column, or from miscellaneous spending to utilities--because no matter how much I adjust, or how much I move an amount from one to another, it’s still more expensive the following month. Money is being taken from me so fast that I honestly can’t see where it’s going, and that makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong, like I’m incapable of adding up the numbers, or that I’m being careless with my paycheck. It makes me feel unworthy of owning the things that I do, to be having the fun that I have, no matter how modest or low-key it all really is. Sure, we’ve made some pretty dumb financial decisions in the past, but we made it through--we corrected them--and we learned our lesson, but yet, here we are; making sound decisions and only getting shafted.

Okay, I’m wallowing in the drama of it, and that’s not the point. Twenty dollars does not break the bank, but every dollar suddenly being stretched to the limit, and prices all around us steadily inching upward to the point that I can’t even estimate a correct budget, and the money coming in moving at a turtle's pace in comparison—that’s why the bank is broken. That’s why my system doesn’t work anymore. This economy is killing everyone, and I suppose Jon and I should consider ourselves fortunate for only feeling the effects of it in the last few months.

But my question is when does it end? Who can fix it? I’m not holding my breath for McCain or Obama. Neither one has convinced me they have the ability to right our wrong economy. Neither one has convinced me that we’re not going to be facing another 4 years of the same old crap.

For future reference, to whom do I have to sell my soul to keep from spending another $95 on produce, bread, meat, and dairy products for another week?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Verdict

"I love wine!" I announced on the drive home from Sarah's Vineyard last night, "I could drink it every day!"

You could say my new found appreciation for wine was due to my intoxicated state after the first few glasses, but I like to think it's because of my maturing taste buds, and my new philosophy--I can enjoy anything if I just put my mind to it--with the exception of mushrooms, of course, because my mind will be long gone before I can eat a mushroom without gagging.

My memory is a little hazy, but I do remember tasting multiple types of wine; a white, sweet Ohio table wine, an American blueberry wine, a dry, red table wine, and chardonnay. I was a big fan of the sweet white wine, blueberry wine, and the chardonnay, but the red table wine; a blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, Chambourcin, and Frontenac grapes with the title "Miserable," was at the bottom of my list. I don't even know enough about wine to know what I didn't like about it other than it hurt going down. And I don't know about you, but I prefer to avoid anything that burns as it travels down my throat--that's what cough syrup is for.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

If I Were Edible

I'd be a Seven Layer Tex Mex Dip; soft, spicy, a little rough around the edges, but entirely palatable.

Jon and I are going to a vineyard tonight to celebrate a friend's birthday. While I don't know much about wine other than I like it buried in a lot of fruit a la sangria style, I've never met a guacamole or avocado I didn't like, so I'm bringing the dip along as my food contribution.

Wine, like vegetables, is one of those weird things that I've always wanted to like but never acquired a taste for. But if the last few months of force-feeding myself vegetables and then recently coming to like them, very much actually, is any indication of what I can do with wine, then hand me that bottle and corkscrew because we're going to have a good time tonight!

Who knows, maybe tonight is my first step toward becoming a wine connoisseur.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Veggies Don’t Bite

Vegetables and I have a very strange relationship--carrots especially. My parents never did a very good job of force feeding fruits and vegetables (of course, I never made it an easy job to force anything so I can't blame them) and as a result I've grown up to be an especially picky eater who literally has to shove any vegetable, excluding the simple canned variety of corn and green beans, down her own throat. I only have one very old and vague memory of actually choosing a carrot as a snack and it was when my brother and I were much, much younger. We were building a snowman in the backyard and we ran back into the house for the finishing touch--a carrot for a nose--only we grabbed three carrots from the vegetable drawer; one to complete the snowman, and one for each of us to eat. My memory of eating raw vegetables abruptly ends there, some 20 or so odd years ago.

I asked our family doctor at my last check up if it was a safe and practical idea to force vegetables on myself in the hopes that one day I would actually enjoy them again. Her response was comical and helped me realize how silly my fear of edible plants was--she cocked her head to the side, the edges of her mouth visibly straining to keep from smiling too much to not leave me feeling too ashamed for asking, and she said, "Katie, I can tell you, in my own professional opinion, it is not going to be harmful to you, in any way, to eat more vegetables."

So, with my doctor's blessing, I have faithfully packed 18 baby carrots (two servings) in my lunch every day for the past 3 months. The only problem is I don't always eat them. I find myself eating around them instead. I'll dig through my lunch sack for an apple, or tuna sandwich, or yogurt, pushing the carrots further down each time until around 5:00 when I reach in for the last time and come away with only a bag of vegetables. I swear it's a psychological problem, because all I have to do is get over the hurdle of eating the first 2 carrots and then I remember, "Oh yeah! I really like these!" and the other 16 are gone within minutes. So, in theory, my plan worked, I really do like them, but the habit of not initially cringing is proving to be hard to break.

I did it again today. I spent my last hour at work staring at a ziplock bag of carrot sticks wishing they were Cheetos--one of the most tasty yet nasty of my old food addictions. The whole time I was trying to reason with myself, explaining to myself that I needed the fiber, I needed the vitamins, I needed the vegetables to complete my food pyramid for the day, but it was looking like another day that they would go uneaten. But eventually I broke down--I must have gotten hungry enough--and ate the first 2 carrots fifteen minutes before it was time for me to leave. I spent half the drive home munching on carrots and singing along to music until eventually I reached my hand in the bag and came back with nothing. The carrot sticks were gone, and I was disappointed.

Yesterday, I told my little sister that she shouldn't feed her son Cheetos, and I still think it's sound advice, but I also think it came out a bit too harsh, so Kristin, if you're reading this, I am proof of why you shouldn't feed your son Cheetos, so that one day when he's an adult trying to lose a few pounds or just looking to be as healthy as he can be, he's not staring at a bag of cancer-fighting carrot sticks and wishing they were fried corn meal sprayed with a powered cheese of unknown origins.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

That’s What I Get

"Hey! I think I know that guy!"

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. He works in the warehouse, but I almost didn't recognize him--he doesn't usually wear eyeliner."

Jon and I don't go to many concerts, and when we do it's usually because the tickets were free--such was the case with the Nine Inch Nails concert on Friday. Jon was absolutely smitten. He's a long time NIN fan, but I am mostly guilty by association. Don't get me wrong, I love some of their stuff from the late '80s and early '90s and I don't particularly have a problem with any of the newer albums, it's just my interests have been waning amidst all of the new music I've discovered in the last few years. Nevertheless, it was one of my husband's favorite bands, we only had to pay for parking, and I was just happy to be out doing something on a Friday night.

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I'd been to a NIN concert before, but it was almost 10 years ago, I was a teenager, and I didn't give a shit what I looked like back then, but now? Now, after walking in the front doors of the Quicken Loans Arena, surrounded by men in black fishnets and KISS-like platform boots, almost all of them pleading their case as to why they should be allowed to wear their spiked chokers, bracelets, and rings in the arena, it was obvious that the 2 days I spent rummaging through local department stores for a casual yet flattering black shirt, and the hour I spent trying to beautify my hair without looking like I actually tried was all for naught. I wasn't going to fit in here. And just to drive my point home, the security guard in charge of bag check made eye contact with me and sighed peacefully, as if she was relieved to see the only other human in a world full of inept goats. She waved her miniature flashlight over the loose receipts and tampons in my purse and whispered to me, "These people are a bunch of freaks..."

The difference between me and the woman checking my purse for a camera, drugs, or weapons, was that I didn't think we were surrounded by freaks—I thought we were surrounded by people who were so comfortable in their own skin that they were able to express themselves freely, acknowledging that the rest of the world might view them as a different species, and yet they did it anyway. Here I had spent the last 2 days frantically searching for something that wasn't of a pastel hue so I wouldn't be mistaken for a Hannah Montana fan in the presence of Trent Reznor, and yet in comparison to all the mohawks, black lipstick, and heavy eyelids I felt incredibly boring in my black scoop-neck blouse and flip-flops.

Overall the concert was amazing--the digital effects were superb and the buffet of people-watching opportunities was some of the best I've ever been witness to. My self-diagnosed ADD was having a field day as my attention shifted from the enrapturing voice of Trent Reznor, to the crowd surfers who loved getting pushed around by the bouncers, to the girls who were flail dancing so fiercely that I thought they would fall off the balcony, to the guy behind us who mistakenly thought he had a better voice than Reznor and tried to over sing him the entire time, and to the people below who were gutsy enough to smoke weed in the kingdom of LeBron James.

Somewhere along the line I noticed my jeans were sopping wet from mid-shin down and discovered someone had spilled their drink and it was pooling around my feet. I had to start holding my wet purse in my lap and I stopped having fun after that. Again, I had to keep reminding myself that all we paid for was parking, and I managed to survive.

The important thing is that Jon can stop holding a grudge against me for being at the NIN concert years ago when he wasn't, and I've discovered the true identity of the quiet man I politely say hello to in the lunchroom corridor everyday. It's like our own little secret.

Monday, August 25, 2008

At the Dinner Table

Jon: "I read something interesting today."

Me: "Yeah?"

Jon: "Yeah. Did you know there are more internet searches on video games than for porn now?"

Me: "No, that's crazy."

Jon: "Well think about it, when was the last time you searched porn?"

Me: "I've never searched porn. When was the last time YOU searched porn?"

Jon: "It's been a while."

Me: "Was it on the new computer?"

Jon: "No."

Me: "Was it in this house?"

Jon: "No."

Me: "Really?!"

Jon: "......"

Me: "C'mon, tell me!"

Jon (walking away): "Leave me alone."

Me (calling after): "Honesty is the best policy!"

Jon: "Leave me alone!"

I still haven't gotten a straight answer.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Musical Paranoia

One of the sales reps asked me what I do to pass the time while driving to work after she heard that I commute 30 miles from Akron. I told her I listen to my iPod, singing along the entire time, and not just bopping my head and mumbling along with the music while I drive down I-71, but literally belting out the lyrics, distorted facial expressions, drumming on the steering wheel, and all. I sing so loudly that I have to keep the windows rolled up when I'm not on the highway because surely the driver in the neighboring car would not only hear The Decemberists crying "O Valencia!" but more so, they would hear me and my sorry voice. I must look like a total nut job.

The funny thing is it's not so much looking like a freak that worries me. No, I worry more about whether or not the car in front of me thinks I have serious road rage aimed directly at them, or even worse, they may think I'm singing along to Britney Spears.

They can peg me as a feminist for listening to Ani Difranco. They can call me emo for listening to Evanescence. They can even write me off as a homicidal maniac for some of Modest Mouse's outlandish lyrics, but please, dear God, do not let them think I listen to Britney Spears.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Should Have Had a V8

So I've decided that losing weight is an awful lot like paying down old debts. I'm in this position due to years of bad choices and the only thing I can do is pay it down as best as I can and patiently wait for a light at the end of the tunnel.

I've lost 16 pounds in 9 weeks which is a perfectly healthy average of 1.8 pounds per week. I've dropped almost 3 points off of my BMI. I can officially put on and take off every pair of jeans that I own without unbuttoning or unzipping them, and yet, I woke up this morning with the mind set that all of this weight, all of these rolls, should just fall off, right now, I don't want them anymore. Just like the credit cards, I felt I've been putting so much time and energy into this that I should be farther than I am. This debt should be lower than it is.

I think part of my problem must lie in my obsession with studying weight loss and where all of the numbers should be. I'm not only tracking the calories that I eat, but also the calories that I burn, and my intake of fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, sugar, fiber, and protein. I think I'm driving myself mad looking for the perfect combination of all these numbers and I'm not even sure the perfect combination exists. My mind looks a little something like this:

"Reduce calories"
"Eat 5-7 servings of fruit/day"
"You're starving yourself. You have to eat more"
"I said NET calories!"
"Don't forget your veggies"
"By the way, drink lots of water. But not too much or you'll die."
"Eat nuts. Did I say any nut? No, no - you have to pick from this list."
"Don't forget your fats - but not too much fat. Make sure it's the good kind of fat or you'll be obese."
"Fat, check. Calories, check. Water, okay."
"Woah woah - that's too much salt - you're going to be swollen!"
"Eat your protein. How much - 30%. 30% of what, 2000 calories?"
"Too much protein - you're going to shut down your kidneys."

I had a dream the other night in which people all over the world, young and old, were dropping like flies because they didn't get at least 30 grams of fiber every day. I was frantically searching for more sources of fiber to save our lives and screaming at Jon for only eating Big Macs. The last thing I remember is totalling up my fiber for the day and falling short at 27 grams, much like I do on a daily basis.

I'm not giving up. I'm going to get the hang of this one day and I'm going to be the thin, level-headed, nutrition-conscious person I want to be, but today is not that day.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Where’s Bert When You Need Him?

Three years and three and a half months later we finally have two working fireplaces. Not that the second one was ever broken, but the previous owners had temporarily closed it off with cardboard and styrofoam. Jon and I thought about using it many times in the cold winter months but we didn't want to risk it until we could have the chimney professionally cleaned, and of course, because it involved money, we were putting it off as long as possible.

Last Thursday night, while I was wallowing in self pity on the basement floor, I started to hear odd sounds coming from the fireplace, or more specifically, something was knocking against the styrofoam. I'd recently been told a story about a couple who heard noises coming from their attic but didn't do anything about it, only to have a beehive and thousands of live bees fall on their bed in the middle of the night, so of course I went running to Jon, frantically exclaiming that we had to get someone here pronto to check on the chimney because he is allergic to bees and surely he would die if thousands of bees came out of the fireplace to attack him.

He wasn't quite as upitty about it as I was but that didn't stop him from throwing the possibility of bats out there to scare me even more. So we called around but the soonest we could get anyone out here was Monday morning. We were all, dude, there are animals in our fireplace just waiting to eat us, and all of the local chimney sweeps were like, sorry, we're backed up from the July 4th holiday. Don't you know people like to have fires on holidays? So we waited.

My logical side knew there couldn't be an animal because the dogs would have fretted about the noise before I did and they would have been simultaneously staring at and slobbering on the fireplace by then, but that didn't stop me from inspecting the dark corners of the basement for beady eyes before finishing each decent down the stairs. I must admit there was one occasion on Friday night where I flung my arms around and batted at the air while shrieking because I thought I'd seen something out of the corner of my eye. I've never actually encountered a bat before, but I'd seen what happens in the movies and it is never pleasant.

At 8:15 this morning Frank from Super Sweep Chimneys pulled into our driveway. He was everything that I had expected--a rough looking guy in his mid 50s with salt and pepper hair, dressed in a t-shirt and jeans covered in paint and soot. He brought a vacuum cleaner the size of my couch and made the house smell like burning dust. He was everything that I expected but I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was secretly hoping for a Mary Poppins-esque Dick Van Dyke to heed our call with stilts for legs and springs for heels, singing in all of his Chim Chimney glory. Dick Van Dyke was a true chimney sweep. Frank was a chimney plummer with expensive toys.

All disappointment aside, he cleaned our two chimneys well, didn't try to sell us on anything extra (I appreciate it when they're honest about the amount of time something has left), and he told us that all we were hearing was some built up soot falling onto the styrofoam. There were no raccoons, birds, bats, or bees living in our chimney, just a lining in desperate need of a cleaning.

Not that I don't appreciate his services, we will certainly be calling his company again when our chimney needs another cleaning or any repairs, but I feel silly for spending so much money on something I won't even use for another 3 or 4 months. Then again, I hear summer holidays are a popular time to light up the fireplaces...s'mores anyone?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Why I Couldn’t Join a Weightloss Challenge

Two words: I'm Hungry.

No, really, about 5 hours ago all I wanted was a Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich with gobs of their 210 calorie mayonnaise oozing out from under the bun. That sounds disgusting, I know, but it's just so freakin' good!

I resisted the urge. I couldn't do it. I've worked out everyday for 2 weeks straight and I couldn't ruin it all for a slab of microwaved chicken covered in the world's unhealthiest mayo. Nope, I ordered a cheese burger with ketchup, mustard, and pickles instead, and at only 340 calories, it was a much healthier choice. Baby steps, I guess.

All in all I'm getting a little discouraged by the scale's unwillingness to budge anymore than 3 pounds lower, but I've learned a very valuable lesson: exercise makes me feel wonderful. I feel healthy, optimistic, and, wait for it...happy...all the time. I swear 2 weeks worth of positivity is a new record for me. Who knew that when Psychiatrist Number 4 recommended yoga as a cure for my depression he actually knew what he was talking about?

While the scale may not be moving much I am noticing very subtle changes in my body like the return of my quadriceps whose appearance went MIA about 6 years ago--I can actually see them again. Oh, and my butt is lifting, looking a little more round. I've practically had to beat my husband off with a stick on more than one occasion in these last couple of weeks. I haven't seen much of a change in the spare tire though, but I'm holding out hope that it will start deflating soon.

I guess in the big scheme of things being hungry and denying myself the food that I should have been swearing off all along is small potatoes. And whether or not I lose 3 pounds or 20 pounds doesn't really matter as long as I'm taking care of myself, being the healthiest I can be, and feeling more confident, which I do and I am.

Now if only Burger King would fall off the face of the Earth I might have a chance at reaching that 22 pound goal...19 more to go.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sunday Letters Vol. 5

Dear Kristin,

Today is your 21st birthday! Jon and I met you and a few of your friends down in the valley at midnight last night and we stood next to each other as you nursed a Long Island Iced Tea and we sipped a couple of warm beers. Jon and I debated on the way home as to what was worse; the shot the three of us had together that tasted like Sprite and tart liquor, or the seemingly heated Coors Light and Corona that felt like it was curdling everything in our bellies. I think the warm beer won as worst drink of the night, but we really didn't have much desire to complain. No, for the most part, we were too busy texting and calling people about having a drink less than 10 feet away from LeBron James! Dude had it going on even in his Yankees cap as he sipped a Vitamin Water at a bumping bar. Thanks for inviting us, and for giving us a great story to tell when we go back to work tomorrow.

Boy, you and I sure have come a long way, haven't we? How often do two sisters fight so much that their grandmother, who lives three states over and visits once or twice a year, begins all of her check-in phone conversations by asking "How are Katie and Kristin getting along?" Life in our house was an all out war between you and I. I wanted privacy, you wanted attention, we both knew which buttons to push at just the right moment to make the other one fly off the deep end. You had the advantage though, because I was older and I should have known better, blah, blah, blah…you could have suffocated me in my sleep and Mom and Dad would have still blamed me, because I didn't love you enough or something equally absurd.

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am that the constant bickering is over. Everyone said we would grow out of it, but to be completely honest, I had some serious doubts we would ever get along. I mean, c'mon, when you were 6-years-old you took the screen out of our bedroom window and threw all of my stuff out into the rain. You painted my bed and dresser with bright red nail polish. I still don't know how I ever forgave you.

A turning point came for me one day when you were able to look at Jon and say, "I hate you because you took my best friend away." You must have been 11 or 12 at the time, and the way you said it, as if you truly believed that we had ever been friends, let alone best friends, almost knocked me off of my feet. All those years I spent despising you, ridiculing you, pushing you away, and you still thought we were friends. It was at that point that I decided to let you in a little at a time, and we've been going strong ever since. I still cry whenever I come across a picture you drew for me, or an award you made for me, proclaiming me as The World's Best Big Sister, because I was never that kind to you.

That being said, Thank You, Kristin, for sticking around long enough to become one of my best friends--for being one of the very few people who I feel completely comfortable around, and for not judging me. Thank you for honoring Jon and I as Godparents to Isaiah, and of course, thanks for inviting us to that bar last night where we got stare at the back of LeBron James' head.

Happy Birthday!

Your big sis,