Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year in Review

So, I started this post two weeks ago, got a few sentences in and let it ride. Now I'm cutting it close. But here it is, my mental wrap-up of 2009.

And what a year it was! This was the Year of Zumba. A year of new friends. A year with a new car (would it have killed building management to at least apologize?). This was the year of refinancing. This was the year of Tonsilgate. It was a good year with husband, dog, family and friends.

I didn't travel too much this year, and that was OK. Our Natchez trip was a great time with my sweet husband. I enjoyed seeing Tom, Laura and Henry in Kansas. Got to go to Waverly, TN twice for work. I am hoping that next year I get a few more work trips because frankly, I'm a good trainer and I deserve it. Some might even say I deserve it more than other people.

Work went well enough this year - a few setbacks, but nothing insane. I had a few teachable moments, far fewer tears than some years, and I had a few real moments of great confidence that I am in the right place, doing the right thing. And people believe in me.

Everyone's health was better this year. Aside from my issues pre- and post-tonsillectomy, we were in the pink.

Got to see my family plenty, had lots of fun with my friends.

Life was good in 2009.

For 2010, not much on deck. I have all the same resolutions this year as I do every year - eat better, exercise more, swear less. But I have one mega-resolution that trumps everything.

I resolve that in 2010, I will work on being more selfish.

Seriously.

More on that in the coming days and weeks. Just chew on it for now.

Mwah!

ae

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Pot Sample

I went back to the doctor yesterday at my mother's and husband’s insistence. The lung and sinus crud had lingered too long and they were concerned.

So after work, I hit up the walk-in hours, where once again Cori took a look at all things respiratory.

The verdict – she didn’t want me on antibiotics again so soon, and instead, hooked me up with pot.

A neti pot, that is. Apparently, she had some free samples from a local musician who is so enamored of them, he wrote a song about it.



http://www.johnnyrodgers.com/wordpress/tag/neti-pot-man/

Never one to turn down a free sample, I took my pot and ran.

When I got home, Matt got one look at it (see below) and made an astute observation…




It looks like a penis. Aladdin’s schlong. Notice the head, er, spout.

Not all neti pots have this drawback, but free is free. I loaded the mother up, stood over the sink and intentionally poured warm water up my nose.

And what do you know? It kind of worked. I’m not a neti expert, but I also didn’t drown myself and once I got done, I definitely breathed easier.

I didn’t have time to neti this morning, and I am regretting it – I feel like my head is full of glue, and think a nice warm bath to the schnozz might loosen it up.

So with some luck, I can dodge the Augmentin bullet and get on with my life.

Old dog, new trick. Amazing.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Better than I deserve.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is over and that we’re barreling towards New Year’s. So long, aughts!

On the evening of the 23rd, Matt and I had an uneventful ride down to Georgia, save for a brief trip to Wendy's which was overrun by a large Mennonite family. We were greeted by parents and pugs, and eventually, we went to bed with visions of Sugarplums…

Christmas Eve morning, we had breakfast at the Southern Skillet – a Roswell tradition. The sliced tomatoes were excellent as usual. Matt took a bike ride, and I helped Mom and Dad with some cooking and prep. That afternoon, we went to a cocktail party thrown by Claire and Jim – some neighbors of my parents. When we got home, we found that some other neighbors, Scott and Robin, and their dog Ellie, had left the pugs a Christmas present. So Mom and fixed them a plate of cookies and we drove over to thank them. Robin and Ellie answered the door – Ellie is a Boston Terrier and I am IN LOVE. Mom, Robin, Scott and I shot the bull for awhile – they have a great house with lots of gorgeous décor- I could have stayed for hours. As it was though, we went home and had dinner. Chicken, potato salad, baked beans and crudités. Delicious. After we cleaned up, Matt took us on a drive to see the lights around town. We drove twice by what we call the “Crazy Lady’s House”. She decorates to the hilt on Easter, 4th of July, Halloween and Christmas – this year she didn’t disappoint. Lots of lights, lots of inflatables. Good stuff.

We hit the hay early on Christmas Eve, and we woke up early on Christmas morning. After a great breakfast, we opened presents. Mom loved her yoga clothes, and her Regal cinemas gift card, but the real hit was this:


A pug wristlet from http://fuzzynation.com/.


As for dad, he loved the coffee and the Home Depot gift card (along with Matt and my promise of labor on a project in the mountains), but the real winner was the fun bandaids.



Matt liked his new wallet, and the REI Card, his new video game, and of course, the boxer shorts with tiny little bicycles on them.

As for me, I got quite a haul. Gift cards from Mom and Dad and Matt, new pajamas and a journal from the folks, some really good shampoo, some socks and the Glee soundtrack for my better half. Laura and Tom sent us a really nice throw for our couch and an engraved coffee scoop.

The dogs enjoyed their new toys, and although nobody won any money from the Lotto Scratch-offs that Lola gave out for Christmas, I’d have to say it was a success.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, talking, napping. Around 3PM, we got onto Skype and talked with Tom, Laura and Henry – we lifted up the dogs so that Henry could see them all, and we even got to see Biscuit.

Dinner was our traditional spaghetti, and it was terrific. We watched some television, and Matt went to bed early, since he had big biking plans for the Silver Comet trail in the morning.

I heard Matt leave, but I rolled over and snoozed a little longer. Eventually, Mom, Dad and I got up, played with the dogs and had some breakfast. We decided to head to a furniture consignment shop in town that we really like. Sadly, they were a little picked over, so we decided to go kill some time at Queen of Hearts – a great antique store in Alpharetta. I saw a handful of things I wouldn’t mind owning, but nothing that I had to take home with me. We spent easily a few hours there, though – it’s huge an old A&P or Winn Dixie that was converted into stalls for dozens and dozens of dealers.

By then, it was time for lunch, and as luck would have it, a new French bakery had just opened in Roswell, and we headed there. The food was first rate. We had some killer sandwiches, and finished it up with pastries. I had a strawberry cake that was incredible, and Mom’s tiramisu was excellent. Dad had a pistachio macaroon, and it was so good, I got ten to take with us. I also bought two jars of the holiest of grails of mustard. Amora. It’s the best mustard in the world and it is very, very, very hard to find in the states. I gave Dad one jar and kept the other for me and Matt.

When we got home, we started watching some television – this fascinating historical/genealogical study of prominent African Americans on PBS. I don’t usually like Oprah Winfrey, but her narrative was definitely compelling.

When Matt got home, he was beat and had some interesting stories to tell about his day. After he got a hot shower, we all went to take Dad for his birthday dinner (one day early so that we could be there). Dad’s choice was India Chef, which is probably my favorite Indian ever. And we all know, I do love some Indian food. We ate, drank (tea) and were merry. We especially enjoyed the musical stylings of the keyboardist at the front of the restaurant. Songs included “If I Only Had a Brain” and “Amazing Grace”. Odd, but great.

Yesterday, we had a nice brunch, Matt went over to the bike shop, and eventually, we headed west on I-24.

I miss my parents, I miss the pugs. I miss the lazy laidback schedule.

Three days in the salt mines, then I’ll kick it old school for the New Year.

Where did 2009 go?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ho, Ho, Ho....ly shit, are those anal beads?


I’ve probably mentioned it before, but family is kind of important to me. And not just my biological family – Matt’s family is pretty critical to my well-being, too.

We went to visit Matt’s Aunt Flora and Uncle Kelly this weekend. They’re two of the nicest, friendliest, kindest people in the world, and I absolutely love spending time with them. Every time we go, I say to Matt as we leave, “We have GOT to get down here more often.”

We arrived at lunchtime, and offered to take them to lunch at the Oakwood – Dalton’s incredible little home-cooking place. I had beef-vegetable soup and a grilled cheese and some sliced tomatoes. I’ve been under the weather since about Wednesday, and that was the perfect thing to eat. I also downed at least three glasses of tea.

We went back to the house to help Matt’s cousin Bruce wrap his son Michael’s Christmas present. Since Michael doesn’t read this blog, I can tell you it’s a Fender Guitar starter kit with the guitar, amp, headphones, cables, etc. Very cool. It was a big box, so I helped dispense tape.

We sat and talked with the family (and some friends who dropped in) until finally, it was time to leave for Shane and Teresa’s. Technically, Teresa is Flora’s brother’s daughter, and Matt is Kelly’s sister’s son, so there’s no actual blood kinship, but as far as Teresa and I are concerned, we’re cousins. I first got to know Teresa’s daughter, Hannah, and then later met Shane and Teresa, as well as Teresa’s brother Doug, his wife Shannon, their son Nathan, and….well, you get the idea. I inherited a large family. And lucky for me, they welcome me, too!


I took a big tray of sweets, and there was a spread of all my favorite hors d’oeuvres. If you don’t know this about me, I love, love love hors d’oeuvres. I prefer finger foods to real meals, so this was my kind of party. I met all kinds of nice people and noshed on sausage balls (and pigs in blankets, and dip, and more sausage balls).

After awhile, the grownups gathered in Club Shane – the garage that Shane has turned into a karaoke lounge. There, we began playing Dirty Santa.

Also known as the White Elephant Game or Yankee Christmas, this is the game where you draw numbers, and can either pick a gift from the pile or steal one from someone else, who then gets to take a gift from the pile. If there’s a present that everyone wants, it can get kind of ugly, and so the secondary purpose is to get people things they won’t want and will be stuck with.

I’ll spare you the play-by-play. Suffice it to say that we saw a good number of big pairs of underpants, a ginormo condom, a swearing dictionary, some Christmas boxers, several stuffed Chihuahuas that attach to the leg and make humping motions and sounds. I took a porno DVD and some smoking paraphernalia from the Teresa’s mother-in-law, and then had the same stolen from me by Matt’s aunt. Matt took a pair of animated breasts that jiggled to Christmas music (Jingle Jugs), and then the Teresa’s brother grabbed them from him.


Plundered Booty, so to speak









We ended up with a feathered/beaded whip and a vibrating mouth that plugs into your cigarette lighter in the car. Don't ask.

I laughed myself nearly sick.

After the last gift was opened, Shane queued up the Karaoke. Even with the lung/throat/sinus crud, Shane , his friends and I belted out some hits while Kelly and Flora danced. Life is good, friends. I make a convincing Annie Lennox. And Linda Ronstadt, and Toni Basil (dig deep - Google it if you must).

I should explain at this point, that I had not had a drink all night. Not a drop. I was the DD for my husband and Flora and Kelly – they all got a little festive - Matt drank Dickel, neat. Kelly’s poison is Canadian Mist and Sprite – and for Flora, red wine. I had water. It’s all I needed – and I was fine to be the driver – they all had a ball and I didn't miss a thing.

We got home around midnight, and would you believe, by 8:30, I was up, dressed and sitting in the kitchen watching Flora make us a huge breakfast. Sausage gravy, biscuits. The works.

I love my family. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

We have GOT to get down there more often.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Insult to Injury

I went to see my doctor Wednesday. I thought he was doing a post-tonsillectomy check-in, since at my last appointment, I kind of fell apart on him about my recovery. Turns out, he thought he was checking my blood pressure. Aaawkward. Turns out since he's the one giving shots, he's the one calling the shots.

So, basically, my blood pressure was a little higher than average, but not bad. He then reluctantly let me talk through my gustatory issues. I don’t know, it kind of felt like he cared, but only because I was making a co-pay. Twenty-five dollars worth of healthcare at a time, please.

Here’s the good news - there is no organic reason that I should be having the bitter metallic taste, the aversion/reaction to carbonated beverages, or what we’d call “taste disturbances”. Which is to say, it’s not like I have an infection or a tumor or anything treatable that we could do to alleviate my issues.

The bad news is, something very likely happened during surgery to cause this. It could have been with the depth of the tonsil made surgery more invasive and thereby caused trauma to my nerves, or they could have misjudged an injection site during anesthesia. Anyway something caused this little glitch. And there's no way of knowing what happend.

And now the real bad news. My doctor said that his professional advice was that I should assume that my condition is permanent and behave accordingly. Now, off the record, he told me I’d likely get most of my original taste back, but that it may take some time.

Meanwhile, I made hundreds and hundreds of cookies for my husband to take to work. I have no idea how they tasted. The ones I thought were awful ended up being everyone’s favorite. So, clearly, I have issues.

And to top it all off, I have another sore throat with a brain-rattling cough. So it's not like I have that "Well, at least you have fewer sore throats" bromide to lean on. Although the doc tested it and it isn't strep. And the Mucinex is making my stomach hurt. Or that may be the fact that in my shot at attempting an errand during lunch resulted in my inhaling my lunch as I stood in line to pay for it (a pre-packed sandwich, so it's not like I was stealing from a salad bar).

Well, so. Merry Christmas.

I know, I know – compared to 99% of the world, I’m sitting pretty.

Breathe deeply. Enjoy. Relax.


Fa la la la la, la la, la.....LAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

ae

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Open Letter to That Girl From High School

Dear Old Friend,

So your mother and step-father have moved into the neighborhood that I grew up in and where my parents still live. Our mothers are friends. My mother and your mother ran into each other this week, and as it turns out, you and I are both going to be in town for the holidays. They thought - how terrific would it be if we could get together?

I don’t know how I feel about that, exactly. The last time we saw each other, you were just about to graduate. That guy “B” and I went to see you perform as a wench at the Renaissance Faire. You remember B, don’t you? So, yeah – he was the guy that I had a crush on and I mentioned it to you, and you said you’d try to get him to notice me. Imagine my surprise a few weeks later to learn he’d asked you to Prom. And you'd accepted. I ended up asking our friend “R”, who thought of me as more than a friend and it was really awkward, especially when the four of us ended up at Gorin’s Ice Cream together after the dance. How adorable you looked with the jacket of his tuxedo slung casually over your shoulders. How moronic I felt fending off the advances of R who, in retrospect, was way, way cuter than B. Maybe I should have been more open-minded. Eh, that was nearly twenty years ago. Wonder what happened to both of them?

In the years that have passed since then, both a lot has happened and little has changed.

I’m still funny, I still sing Alto II reasonably well. While not a professional writer, as I may have hoped I’d be, I can still crank out some gems if I’m so inspired. Still liberal, still crazy, and I still speak my mind. I haven’t been in a play in nearly 10 years, but I could act my way out of a paper bag if I had to. Life is good.

As for the differences? Well, I’m a grown-ass woman now. I have a good job (not a cashier at Harry’s anymore, though I loved it there), I got married – a wonderful man – thankfully, nothing like either of the guys we ended up with at Prom. We live in Nashville – definitely not the “cool” factor of your new town, but I have terrific friends, a beautiful home, a loving dog – all the trimmings. Life is good.

Oh, here’s something kind of interesting. I got fat. Well, to be accurate, I got fat, then got thinner, and then somehow managed to get fat once again. As it happens, getting fatter is much easier than getting thinner, and in many ways, more pleasurable. Sure, there’s the whole societal prejudice, the difficulty of finding cute clothes, and of course, the stretch marks - but forget all that – you get to eat!

So you may wonder what exactly I mean by fat. Well, it’s not like I auditioned for the role of Precious, nor am I the kind of woman you’d look at coming down the aisle of an airplane and think “I hope she isn’t sitting next to me”. Jerry Springer isn’t going to have to interview me via satellite from my home hospital bed. I’ve never broken a piece of furniture by sitting on it. I do have to buy my clothes in the “Women’s” department, but they’re in sizes you can get off the rack, and not in a whispered hush by catalog only. I can see my toes, touch them, and they’re not so bloated that I have to cut the toes out of my houseslippers. I don’t own a muumuu, caftan or housedress. Or have my own zip code.

I’m what some might call plump or chubby. I have a bit of a gut, a round butt and big boobs. I shop at Lane Bryant sometimes and a place called Avenue – but I can still hit the racks at Dillards, Macy’s and even Target with success. I sometimes wear a shaper to keep things in check, but that’s true even for thinner people.

I’m probably more self-conscious about it than you would be surprised by it, but anyway, it is what it is. Next year, start of the year, I’ll work on getting some of it off. More Zumba, less chocolate.

So, yeah. Aside from my body issues, and the fact that you went to Prom with my crush, we’re cool – right? That time you got the part that I really wanted in that play and I ended up playing an old lady again…I am so over that. Oh, and the time we had to split a solo in Chansons…”The Man Who Got Away” – huh, seems like just yesterday. Oh well, water under the bridge, you know!

What the heck – if you feel like it, give me a call.

Love ya, mean it –

Crazy McChunkybutt

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Easy like Sunday Morning

Matt is off riding his bike, and there are a half dozen things I should or could be doing, but what I am doing is killing time on the computer, contemplating going back to bed for a few minutes...

It's twelve days until Christmas, and I need to finish shopping, and start wrapping, but some of that is going to require that I wait until I get paid on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

I also need to come up with dinner, and I'm kind of thinking of homemade meat n three.

And I really need to get all the camping gear out of my trunk, which has been in there since Natchez Trace in October. Don't judge me, just pity me.

Oh well- I guess a hot shower should jolt me into reality.

But in my fantasy world, I'd be going back to bed.

ae

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Watch it Wiggle, See it Jiggle

So as I think I may have mentioned, I’ve been feeling a little frumpy lately. It’s weather, it’s fatigue, it's the season, it’s the whole enchilada. Anyway, I decided that maybe what I was lacking (other than a closet full of clothes that I don’t hate), was a firm foundation upon which to build.

Foundation, as in undergarments, lingerie, unmentionables, drawers, intimate apparel. Back in “the day ™”, I used to work part time in the IA (that's intimate apparel for those of you not down with retailspeak) Department at Macy’s in Atlanta (back when it was still Rich’s, then Rich’s-Macy’s). I didn’t do fittings (though I still got an eyeful), but I could sell a bra, a slip, thongs, granny panties, nightgowns, whatever. I also came to learn that Spanx, while having a ridiculous name*, were immensely popular for smoothing out, sucking in and pushing up. I also learned that they were insanely expensive.

Since I am not made of money, I needed an alternative. Thankfully, Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, must have known that cash-challenged women like me still need a little support, so she created a scaled down line called Assets (so much better) available at Target. And so yesterday during lunch, I braved the elements, the traffic, and lunchtime Christmas shoppers and plunked down $22 for a Fantastic Firmers Tank in nude. Another reason to be thankful? Sara’s Assets go up to a XXL, assuring that women of size can join the club. As a side note, our local Sears has all their signs in English and Spanish – the Spanish for Plus Size is Damas Robustas. I’d rather be Robust than Plus. But that’s just me.

Anyway, I was happy to be supporting Sara, who like me is from Georgia. As it turns out, I am equally glad to have Sara supporting me.

The tank looks exactly like what you’d expect – a spandex/lycra nude tank top. It doesn’t feel heavy on the hanger, the material feels like it has some give, and it’s supple enough that it won’t look like you have on a girdle with lots of straps and buckles. Sexy, it’s not. It’s clearly made for function, though in black, surely it would look more like lingerie and less like an ace bandage, but that’s true of every nude undergarment – they’re the workhorse of their breed, but they’re built for comfort, not speed.

That said, since it was such a basic looking tank, it seemed like it might not be that effective. When I tried it on for fit last night, I was pleasantly surprised. In spite of the simple design and seemingly light feel, the Fantastic Firmer does what it says it’ll do.

What it doesn’t do is pinch, bind, hurt or create welts in my skin. What it does is takes what’s there and build a flexible dam that keeps everying in place, holds it in a little and makes the wobbly parts move a little less. Imagine a sports bra for your gut, and that’s the Fantastic Firmers Tank.

I have only one small complaint – and it’s really not Sara’s fault, but because it’s a tank, and because of the sports bra-like properties, it puts me in danger of sporting a uniboob. It’s not insurmountable, and actually, it’s not entirely bad because it creates a little cleavage and offers secondary support – I still have to wear a bra – at my size, it’s not an option to release the hounds.

So was it worth the $22? So far, yes. I’m wearing it today – and three hours in, it’s not itchy, doesn’t chafe, and in this nice cold weather, adds a layer of warmth. The real proof will be tonight after work – I’ll have a little shopping excursion to see if it allows me to wear some of those cute thinner knit sweaters, or whether I still look as though I’m smuggling jello cubes out of the Piccadilly. If it doesn’t help, then at least I have some light foundation on the “feeling bloated” days and I didn’t spend a fortune. If it works, I’ll be heading to Target this weekend for another tank in nude, and one in black.

I’ll keep you posted.

ae

*The only brand with a sillier name than Spanx are Cuddl' Duds - basically long underwear. Also immensely popular. Go figure.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Me and Ben and Mac

As I think you may know, this time of year brings out the worst in me. Short days, long lines, expensive undertakings. And the wretched, bitter cold.

I have really, really dry skin, so winter makes it ten times worse. I tend to break out in rashes if I use lotion, so either way, I'm screwed. Tags in clothing get cut out without a second thought. I'll give up my hot baths, but turn down the hot water in the shower? NEVER!

Add to my physical irritation the emotional itch of post-Thanksgiving letdown, and boy, are you in for a treat! Hence, my lack of posts.

We are also beyond busy at the office these days. I've been putting in good time, and we're seeing some results. We are also finally losing our weakest link to a Sales Department reorg tomorrow. The moral being, do a shitty job in support and you'll be summarily shuttled to another department where hopefully, they'll realize you're dumber than a box of hair. But probably not.

I'm starting Christmas cards tonight, or, at least the list of people getting cards. I have the cards -I am second guessing the photo I picked, but they're printed and waiting, so, you know -fuck it, and I have stamps, which I don't love this year, thanks, USPS.

I bought a few presents already - we did a kid from the Angel Tree at the YMCA this year - she wanted art supplies and a Gamestop giftcard, needed socks. Done, done and done. Our five-year-old next door neighbor, done (don't tell him, but it's a Playmobil Pirate Ship). I also started on Mom and Henry, and have a plan in place for Dad, Tom and Laura. Matt? No clue. Santa, if you're reading this, I could use a vat of hypoallergenic lotion, and a paint roller with which to apply it. And a wardrobe consult. I've been looking and feeling frumpy. That won't do!

Next weekend, I believe I'll start the baking. That's when the fun actually begins. Well, the fun really begins when we get to Atlanta late on the 23rd and start carousing with Mom, Dad and the pugs.

OK, I won't let it ride this long again.

Decking the halls with lots of Matzoh,

Allison