Friday, May 31, 2013

Running on empty

Well, two sessions in to my Couch to 5K, and here's what I can tell you definitively is that I am not a runner.

My ankles and knees aren't built for it - to say nothing of my...ahem... funbags.


Moo.

Now, I can do a brisk walk all day long.  Miles and miles.

So I need to make a decision.  And I think this is it.

I need to get more exercise.  And finishing a 5K is doable - even if I'm not getting Kenyan-grade times to do it.

So I'll keep going, minus the running.  I'll still do the 5K, I'll keep on keeping on.

And that's going to have to be good enough.

And in 40 pounds, if I want to try again... I have the app.

ae

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Today is the first day...of.... my work week.

So, I was spending a little time on the interwebs over the weekend when something caught my eye:


Now, there's something you should know about me.  I'm not a runner.  No, really.  I don't run.  Not even if some -one/thing is chasing me.  I'd be the second to go in a horror movie - the first is always the black character.  Then a clumsy/awkward girl, then a promiscuous couple turned on by the threat of danger.  That might be cinematic law.

Anyway.  I saw this and got a little nostalgic.  Because although I don't run, I've completed three 10Ks in my life - all on July 4th.

See, there's this little race in Atlanta every year called the Peachtree Road Race.  They close down Peachtree Street in Downtown Atlanta and about 60,000 runners and 150,000 spectators (thanks Wikipedia) take part in a race.  It's not to raise money or awareness.  It's just for fun and a t-shirt.

And I was thinking... well, at my best physical shape in my mid/late twenties, I finished the 10K thrice without incident (well, if you don't count the year I got hella lost getting back to Marta and ended up walking an additional three miles).  Why not attempt half that while in the worst shape of my life in my late thirties?

And as it turns out, there's an app for that.

I remember that brief time when app was short for appetizer.  That's not what we're here to talk about though.  If we were, I'd be ordering potato skins.

I found an app called Couch to 5K, and it got good ratings and it was $3.  Which is cheaper than a Happy Meal or a milkshake at Sonic  -  unless you go after 8PM, because they're half price right this summer.

Can we see how I might have gotten into the worst shape of my life?

I'm reminded tangentially that round is legitimate shape.  But I digress.

So, I bought this app. 

And one of the many "fun" features of this killer app is that I get to select a trainer. 

Here's the list of options:


Do you see some bias in what I get to select from?   Two very attractive women, one borderline abusive male, one borderline dead male, and a toy poodle.  Ever seen a toy poodle out on a run?  Me either.

Nonetheless, I chose Pumpkin, for now, because... well - I'm jealous of Billie's firm pixel-filled breasts and Constance's impossibly green eyes and ombre auburn hair.  And although Johnny Dead would love me for my brains, and Sergeant would hate me for my body, they don't inspire me.

Plus, I miss Lola, who was also not a runner - unless she was in escape mode, and then - old girl could get it.

I mean, it's about getting off my couch and prepping for a race that I haven't yet registered for.

Ultimately, it's about saving me from myself.

The good news is, Pumpkin and animated hotties aside, I'm kind of excited about this.  I mean, the app lets you stream playlists (cue Eye of the Tiger) and GPS tracks your routes. 

Why not let my technology work for me a little?

I'll keep you posted. 

ae


PS - Would it have killed them to include an attractive (but not too pretty) male trainer who complimented your nice form?   Asked you about your day?   Am I projecting?  I'd pay an extra few bucks.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Three Day Weekend

Started my weekend on the road, ended it with vegetable skewers.

Here's how it went down.

Friday afternoon, we made our way down to Atlanta, where we hung out with Mom and the pugs for a bit.  Crashed, and up at 6:30 to head for the mountains.

We made a stop for breakfast and stop for groceries... one more stop to visit with our friends the Graggs, and their yard turkey - a tom with a beard easily a foot long.

At 9AM, it was time for Work Day.  They put us at a burn pile, and we worked it.  It was an easy day - plenty of time to visit and chat with people.  One of our friends offered to host the annual picnic in the field in front of her house - good thing since the hogs have torn our yard to bits and pieces.

Anyway, we called it a day and headed back to the cabin.  Matt shot a few rounds at his Clown Target:


We had some dinner, watched hockey, and slept.  I had been snacked on by enough bugs that I decided I'd benefit from Benadryl.  I took two.

Sunday morning, I finally got up around 10:30.  Apparently, I was tired.

We took a ride on the Rhino, and I managed to do this:


Hard to tell, but it's a gash on my right calf, about two inches long.  Caught a tree branch.  Left some DNA on the trail.


We did some visiting, talked with friends, and then packed up and came down the mountain.  Three stops this time.  One at Mark of the Potter - Matt bought a mug.


I fed the trout.

Another at Yonah Burger for lunch.  Finally, we got gas at the QT near my parents.

We stopped in to see Mom, I changed clothes and then we went over to St. Joe's to see Dad.

Dad went into the hospital last week because his labs were a bit screwy  - and they're getting him back on track.

His spirits are good, he is looking better, and should be home tomorrow or the day after.   I mean, it's not ideal - but it's not untenable, either.

Anyway, we brought him some hard candy, showed off the target Matt obliterated and gave him the news.

Then we headed home.

We gorged on new episodes of Arrested Development, went to bed, and this morning, I got up to go wash the car, then took a metric ton of cardboard boxes to the recycling center.  Grilled chicken burgers for lunch,  took a nap, did laundry, cooked dinner...

Now we'll catch some more Arrested Development, and call it a weekend.

All's well that ends well.

ae


Friday, May 24, 2013

Nothing doing.

I have nothing to say of any especial interest to say.

But I felt like I should post, before we go into a long weekend.

So.

Here's some jelly I made this week:



Strawberry, with extra foamy bits.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

ae

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Young at face, if not heart

I have a zit.  It's the kind that lurks under your skin and hurts like hell. It's in kind of a weird spot -  or not - it's near my nose.  Not exactly cheek, but kind of.

Anyway.  It brings to the forefront the fact that my skin, and to a lesser extent, my hair, are on a strict regimen of neglect.

It's time to get a skincare routine.  I know this.  I do.

But who to use, and what?  I mean, I don't inherently trust the Clinique people to have my best interest - they're making a buck - same with Origins, Aveda, Kiehl's... and yet, I suspect I need something a little more than I can find at Walgreen's.

Plus, I need guidance.

Just puree this and rub it on your face, nightly.


So, that's on my list of things that need doing.

That, and a trip to IKEA, and cleaning out the attic and taking a floppity-jillion boxes to the recycling center, and getting to the dentist and whatnot.

IKEA Risor.  I must have it.


I also need to start eating better and exercising.

One might note that eating right might help my skin, and duly noted.  But I feel certain that this is PMS related, if we're being perfectly frank.

And I'm nothing if not frank.



ae

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Blood, Bile and BBQ Sauce

Thoughts on my day.

1.  I woke myself up last night with such bad acid reflux, I felt like I was aspirating. I coughed for 30 minutes. I woke up this morning with a burnt tongue and lips. I'm done with pizza.  Enough!

2.  In an attempt to mitigate the burn, I found some Loratadine in my desk and took it.  Then I looked it up.  Loratadine is Zyrtec.  What I needed/wanted was Famotidine.  Pepcid.  So my heartburn stayed intact, but my eyes didn't itch.

3. I had a customer today request some help above and beyond.  I obliged and he asked where to send the bouquet.  I pointed him to the address in my email signature.  I know he won't send them... but what if he did?  Well then I'd enjoy the hell out of them.

If you're reading this, I do love asters.  Or zinnias.  That kind of runs the alphabet.


4a.  I gave blood today.  Because I can.  And because I believe in it. I've been giving blood since I was seventeen.  And here's what I can tell you.  I have veins that are deep but highly productive.  They're hard to find, but if you hit one, I can fill a bag in 6 minutes.  Yes, I know this because I've done it.  A lot.  

  b. So, if you're the new guy and you're having trouble finding my vein, and you have to call over a pro, and I tell you both this... why is the new guy going to be the one digging into my arm to get a vein?

 c.  And then, when he blows it and has to call the pro back in, why is anyone surprised?
 
 d.  Although points a - c were a pain in my ass, better me than a newbie - because I've at least got better experiences to remember back to, and I'm not going to get spooked and not donate again.  If I were new to it and got that guy... forget it.

5. Hooray for Bishop's Meat & Three.  Love me some three.  And meat.  I had lunch with my work husband today.  Hooray for work husbands, for that matter.



6. Matt and I went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner.  Apparently, it was "Every Sperm is Sacred" night, because that place was packed with screaming kids.  It was mayhem.

If you don't get the reference...


Well, then you need to get out more.  I vetted the joke with two men whose senses of humor are excellent and they both thought it was funny.

7. Chick-Fil-A has stopped carrying their Carrot Raisin Salad.  CURSES!!!



8. I'm ready for a big swig of Maalox.  And bedtime.

Good times, people.


The whole famdamily

Friday, we went to Atlanta to spend some time with the tribal elders, my sister and my nephew.

I had fun. 

I ate too much, but I had fun.

Here's a picture of me and my Dad together.  We're definitely related:



I'm also in need of a hair treatment of some kind.

We had a good trip, though. 

More soon, once I'm caught up from being gone.  I just didn't want you to think I'd forgotten about you.

ae

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Oh I'd say somewhere in between 40...and death!

I'm taking a little vacay - just an extended dance mix weekend.

Family stuff, natch.

I'm packed and ready - tomorrow morning is go time.

Until then:


This is topless Bea Arthur.  Not bad.

I would like a topless Angela Lansbury to hang with it.  And here's why:



If life should reject you, Bea, there's me to protect you.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

With Six, You Get Eggrolls...


I celebrate myself, and sing myself…

Today is my sixth anniversary at my job.

Most days, I love my job.  Today, I found myself sending out two very barbed e mails before 8:30 AM.  One of them came back and bit me squarely on the ass.

I was telling a sales guy he needed to extricate himself from a process in a really snarky way, and he forwarded the snarky e mail to a customer.  Really, dumbass?  REALLY?  This guy is dumber than a box of hair.

But, apparently, I never learn.

Snark-o-grams aside, it's been a good six years.  And OK, I get frustrated.  But it's because I care.  I do.  I love my customers, I've made good friends and great connections here.  I do good work.  And occasionally, I lose patience and tell people who are being counterproductive where they can take their processes.

If I were a richer woman, with a little money to blow on something foolish, I’d send myself flowers today.

With a mysterious note that says,

To someone special on her 6th Anniversary…

From your biggest fan.

But since I’m practical, dammit,  I’ll settle for a pretty picture of flowers here.


If I ordered them now, they'd be here by 3PM... just saying.



To someone special (me).  From… her biggest fan (also me)*.

ae


*This year of being my own cheerleader is off to a creepy start, don't you think?

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cray cray?

I got up at a decent hour this morning and more or less took on the day like a boss.

Went to Zumba down at the Maryland Farms Y, where they have the class in a room that is so badly laid out, it's not even funny.

I felt completely crowded in by people who got there way after me.  Because I have issues about personal space.

But I like the instructor, and I needed the exercise.

After class, I went to JoAnn Fabrics.  To buy gingham to make kitchen curtains.  I asked for four yards, cut into one yard increments. Apparently, they can't do that. Store policy.  If they had been busy, I might have understood.  But the place was deserted. Oh well.  So I bought four yards and I'll cut it myself.  Thanks for nothing, jerks.

I picked up lunch at Bishop's, and now... now. I'd like a nap, actually.

But I think I'll sew some curtains. 

It's Mother's Day.  I called and talked with my mother.  I've been celebrated by lots of people at the Y, even though I'm not a Mom.

Not even to a dog, this year.

I should explain.  I'm sans kids by choice.  But that doesn't make it occasionally awkward.

This would be an occasion.

Oh well.  Time to make some curtains.

ae

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Hey, Jealousy

Today was kind of a wash.  I got up early and did some housework, then headed to the Farmers Market in search of local strawberries.  And they didn't have any.  I briefly contemplated finding a pick-your-own farm.  But, I couldn't get the energy up to go in search of what appears to be elusive at the moment.

I think maybe it's too early for them.

But then, I'm traveling the next two weekends, it appears.  So where does that leave me?  Berry-less and cranky.

Anyway, after coming away from the Farmers Market empty-handed, I drove to Trader Joe's, wandered around there aimlessly for a bit then finally picked a few things up for supper. I came home, did more work on the house, then took a brief nap.

I dreamed about Lola. Again.

My dreams aren't bad.  Usually.  She's just there in them mostly.

We watched a movie called Seven Psychopaths, and it was fun, but dragged a little.

I did a little grilling for supper.  Some chicken sausages and whole wheat pasta.

And now I'm watching some bad TV.

I love bad TV.

It's good times.

I'm actually a little bummed because I've read a few Facebook updates from my friends in NOLA and I feel like... man, I'm really missing something fun.

I don't know that I am - I mean, I got some really good stuff done today.

But according to Facebook my pals are at Domenica, which means they're eating this:



Maybe I need to get off Facebook and fold laundry.

Or maybe I need to get online, buy a ticket to MSY and meet up with my peeps on Bourbon Street.

Yeah.  I think laundry.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Motherfu...



Last year this time, I was in New Orleans.  Well, technically, I was finishing up a day at our company’s HQ, with an afternoon flight to NOLA.

It was kind of an amazing weekend.  I’ve talked about it before, I’ll talk about it again.  But it was a good time with good friends.

My goodness - what a happy lady! She's laissezing the bons temps roulez.


One of the nice things about it was the timing. The Sunday of the trip happened to be Mother’s Day.
Here’s the thing about Mother’s Day.  Everyone has, or at some point, had a mother.  And people tend to assume, that if you are a woman of child-bearing or child-rearing age, that you are, by default, a mother.

I don’t have kids.  I’m always tempted to answer, when people ask if I have kids, with the old hackneyed response, “None that I know of…”.  I often settle for "Only the one I married."  Har, har! 

Anyway.  Nothing is a more vivid reminder of your failure to reproduce like Mother’s Day.
So to be tooling around The Big Easy sipping a Bloody Mary on the big day – felt very, very right.
And unlike being in Nashville, a town so polite where everyone feels compelled to wish you, woman of child-bearing/rearing age a Happy Mother’s Day, only one New Orleanian said it to me. I must have given her the hairy eyeball because she quickly explained that all women are mothers inherently because of our nurturing qualities.

I don’t disagree, but since my kids that weekend were a group of friends celebrating a 40th birthday in a most unholy fashion, I wasn’t feeling especially maternal.  Now, as the den mother of my group, I made sure that everyone called their moms that day, and they all did.  I’m not a monster.

That brings me to this year.

I am not going on the NOLA trip. My friends are.  It was such a good time, we decided to make it annual.  But I couldn’t justify the expense this year.  Next year. I did give my friend a bottle of Prosecco and a really cute card.

And as you know, I treated Mom to a pedicure last weekend, and I also sent her a bottle of her favorite nail polish with a really cute card.

But I’ll be here in Nashville Sunday.  Presumably without a Bloody Mary to sip, but with plenty of laundry and such to keep me occupied.  And what I think I’m going to do this year, in celebration of Mother’s Day, is to take the nurturing I lavish on others and turn it inward. 


Time to become my own cheerleader.  Pom poms optional.

I’ll give it a shot in the coming year.  And next year this time, I’ll let you know how that worked out.

With a little luck, I’ll be posting from NOLA with a ginormo bacon-garnished, olive-studded adult beverage.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

AYFKM?

So, I've had the kind of day that kind of kicks you in the teeth.  Maybe not initially, but at the end of the day, one great big donkey kick to the face.

I called my mother on the way home from work.

She told me she had bad news.

And she sure did.

The koi were not in the pond when she went to check on them this morning.

Two of them were laying at the side of the pond, the third hasn't been found.

Did Pinky throw Cletus and Shlomo over the side and head off into the night, seeking deeper water?

Or, as I suspect, did a raccoon get a little greedy at the All-You-Can-Eat Aqua Buffet?

Raise your hand if you're a fucking fish-eating thief.  Yeah, that's what I thought.


Does it matter?  Not really - except that it leaves me feeling sad and frustrated.

And I've been feeling that way more than not this year.

It's fine.  They're fish, raccoons eat fish, and it's the circle of life.

But, given a little more energy, would I be face first into some ice cream at Sonic?

Yes, yes I would.

But, that doesn't solve the problem, or bring the fish back, or give me that weekend back, or anything like that.

It's fine.  I'm fine.

But as I told Dad, he's getting more koi for Father's Day.

ae

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sticking it to the man.

Over the weekend, my father was asking me about some of my work-related angst. So I started telling him about some of the things causing me heartburn.  Right off, he took the side of our management team, and naturally, that was annoying.  Equally annoying that he was trying to advise me on how to work with my management team, because clearly, since I wasn't part of the solution, I must be part of the problem.  Natch.

Of course, two weeks ago, I had my father on what I lovingly refer to as Death Watch.

I went to Atlanta to see him, he was horizontal and incoherent all weekend.  Even my mother, retired nurse, thought he was dying.  And, to be fair, we're all dying.  But we thought he was actively doing so at an accelerated rate.

Then, Dr. Cohen, modern miracle worker, got his meds readjusted, and he did a quick and definite 180.

This past weekend, he was up, and coherent, and making egg salad.

If you've never made egg salad with green olives, you owe it to yourself to try it ASAP.


And advising me on how to be a better employee.

Really, it's no surprise that Dad took the side of management.  He was management, for years and years and years.  And he's forgotten what Rank and File feels like.  And to be fair, he was a good manager, but to also be fair, I'm a damn good employee in an industry that didn't exist when my father was last putting on a suit and tie (red paisley, always) on a regular basis.

I come by my love of paisley honestly. 


I called him on it, told him it would be nice for him to just listen without trying to fix it or fix me.

Look, old man - just because you were dying in April doesn't mean you get a free pass in May to get all corner office on my ass.

And don't get me wrong, people.  I love my father - he's one of the most amazing people I know, and I trust his advice.  He made some good points, when he wasn't sucking up to my senior management team.

I'm sure there's a day when I'll wish more than anything I had my father around to take up for the bossmen.

But not today.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Grr

Look. It should be duly noted that I don't like change. And in the past two weeks I have been assigned to a new manager (a team lead, sort of) and we have a new Monday night Zumba instructor.

I am not amused.

Although the new instructor looks like an Oompa Loompa and that is pretty funny.

Seriously though, Kirstin*, step away from the Mega Ultra Bed.

*Not her real name. Obvi.

ae

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Ten Steps to a Happier Life


I went to see my parents this weekend - just to check in and help out.

Mostly, I was on a mission to save their koi pond.

About a week ago, my mother let me know that a chipmunk had drowned in the pond and that the water was murky, and that the pump had died.  A series of events that had her pulling out her hair.

She fished out the offending carcass, replaced the pump, but the water had gotten so bad, the pump couldn't keep up.

Enter, me.  I had some time to contemplate the situation, and I had a plan.

Step one - fill a spare container with enough water to move the three fish to a temporary environment.

Step two - capture fish and move them to said environment.

Step three - drain pond.  This one, admittedly had me stymied. I could siphon it, but how?  I'd need the hose to be at a lower point than the pond and the back yard doesn't really work like that.  So, I decided on a Shop Vac.  I had no desire to put ours in my nice car and transport it to Atlanta.  I didn't know if Mom and Dad had one, but I determined that Home Depot had one for about $50, and I felt it would be a worthwhile investment.  That turned out to be unnecessary - they had one, and Mom agreed that it was the best way to get the water out of the pond.  Dad was hesitant, but we outnumbered him.

Step four - clean the pond.  I didn't know what exactly that would entail, because I really didn't know how bad it would be.   As it turned out, it wasn't that difficult.  We needed to split and repot the water iris, we pulled about a dozen large rocks from the bottom of the pond, and we displaced a large leopard frog.  From there, I scooped a 13 gallon bagful of silt, mud, pine needles and assorted detritus out of the bottom of the pond.  It's a plastic liner that dad sunk into the ground - it's about three feet deep at the lowest point.

While we were working on Step four, one of the three koi, who I'll call Pinky, made an escape attempt, jumping out of his temporary container.  I grabbed the flopping carp up and redeposited him into the tub.  From that point, I appointed Mom to his suicide watch.

I rinsed and vacced the pond really well, then replaced just a few of the rocks at the bottom, along with the pump.  Here, I got a lot of consultation from both Mom and Dad. Finally, we had everyone onboard with placement, the rate of aeration, and the anchoring method of the rocks.

Step five - refill the pond.  While we added back some water, Mom got the chemicals and added them.  We worked on adding the remaining rocks to the edge of pond.

Step six - return Pinky, Cletus and Shlomo to their rightful environment.

Step seven - clean all the equipment used in Operation: Deep Pond and put it away.

Step eight - take a picture of your labor and put it on Facebook:


L-R: Pinky, Shlomo, Cletus - Not Pictured: Leopard Frog
Step nine - get a hot shower and de-scum.

Step ten - note that this humanitarian (pescetarian?) effort has screwed up your pedicure and offer to take Mom for a replacement.


Mother in Malaga Wine,  Daughter in Flashbulb Fuchsia

It was a good day.  Well, mostly.  Later that night, as I was out picking up supper for the elders, I took a massive header in the Publix parking lot. It was slick, it was raining, and I went down like a whore in Bangkok.  But I got up, picked up my keys and phone and, soaked to the skin, I got in my car and went to get our pizza from Mellow Mushroom.

I'm home now and glad to be here.  Hope the koi feel the same way.