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."