Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Post-vacation depression.

Yep, I've got it.



What if I told you that upon returning home last night, I had to take Mr. Oxford to the emergency vet? Does THAT make you feel sorry for me? I didn't get to sleep til nearly 3:00 a.m. and yet am in the office, working it out. Please say you feel a LITTLE bad for me and for the poor bubs.

(You should.) I shall keep you posted, I think the bubs will be fine. Well, once we ween him off the painkiller that makes him physically incapable of putting his tongue back in his mouth.

Photos to follow. Both of the drugged up cat and of our fabulous trip down to St. Thomas.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I'm too old for this.

[SUBTITLE: How I know I married the right man.]

Last night P.I.C. had the lovely opportunity to attend a party where the wine was flowing quite freely. In fact, it was a rather good Cabernet that the bartender poured so heavily the glass nearly needed two hands to hold. I know, I know, I said I made life changes and I only have one glass of wine each night. BUT, that is only when I am at home. I do, however, allow for exceptions in the event of such a nice Cabernet that took the chill off a frigid Chicago night. FACT.

In any event, we enjoyed our few glasses of red wine and then had to make one more stop at a friend's house to pick something up. I realized shortly that I had to use the ladies' room. No matter, we'd be at our destination in a few short minutes, I could use their bathroom.

Only said friend wasn't home. So we had to wait. My need to use the bathroom became urgent. Code Red, if you will. (I like to term things in colored codes so that P.I.C. knows how fast to walk home sometimes.) I admit, I do have a tiny bladder and sometimes forget to go before we leave places. SORRY. Anyhow. This was one of those times. Code Red became NEON in color. I was standing on the sidewalk doing a dance to distract my mind from the pressure in my bladder, but OMG it was bad. P.I.C. even called ANOTHER friend to see if she was home and I could run around the corner to use HER bathroom. Only by that point, I'd parked myself in a discreet place in the alley and gone au natural.

Gross. P.I.C. who'd been approaching me in the alley, saw me just as I finished, and told the other friend, "Never mind, we're good." He shook his head at me and started laughing.

P.I.C. "No. Definitely not."

I was basking in the wonderful feeling that had taken over my body in the warm car when P.I.C. got all smirky and said, "I'm going to have to treat you like a toddler and ask if you need to go before we leave places."

It was a fair statement I will admit that.

Yes, I'm gross. This is a gross story. I'm too old to behave like this, I'm aware. The last time this happened, I was twenty-four.

It was New Years Eve 2004. We'd left the bar, not a cab to be found. Similar situation, including the fact that I probably should have gone before we left. We were walking around, and I just had to use it. FOR REAL. Only this time, I didn't have my P.I.C. It was my ex-boyfriend. By all accounts, he was kinda lame. Fine, but he liked to get mad at me for my own brand of shenanigans. Peeing in an alley? Unacceptable. BUT NECESSARY in a Code Red situation. Well, I went that night, only I had to deal with his ridicule and scorn the whole night.

Two things to learn from this story:
1.) I REALLY need to make a stop in the ladies' room before we leave; and
2.) I definitely picked the right man.

I know. I'm gross. Sorry.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Life changes.

I recently made the conscious decision to change my life for the better.

This was not a resolution for a new year. I started in December 2011.

I am was tired of feeling lethargic and lumpy. I saw my metabolism slowing and what used to be an easy ten pounds to shake once a year became twenty, and then thirty pounds that are not going anywhere.

This is not about losing weight.

When my Grandma passed away, I was very sad. Obviously. I had a hard time with it. However, I saw her in the thirty-one years of my life as someone who made little effort to maintain her own health. She did quit smoking. She didn't drink much in the late stages of her life. But she just wasn't healthy.

I don't want to be like that as I age.

Who's to say that I won't walk out this door and get hit by a bus and die. (God, that's morbid, but true.) I am fully aware that life doesn't always deal what you expect. However, I do recognize that there are certain facets of my life that are within my control exclusively.

I needed to make exercise a priority. I needed to just eat better. I've never been a regular fast food eater, but I have been known to imbibe from time to time. (Honestly, if I was really craving something these days, I'd give into my craving.) The truth was that I was eating way too much. If I got a little hungry at work, I would go to Walgreens and buy myself and beef jerky and eat it. ALL of it. Sometimes two packages. I've never been good at preventing a binge. I was drinking 2-3 glasses of wine every day (weeknights!) without seeing it as a problem. I wasn't working out. Scratch that, I was working out, but barely. I'd hit the gym up maybe one to two times per week and do the bare minimum of 45 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical machine. I was not sleeping well which meant I could not get myself up to work out many days each week. I just wasn't taking care of myself.

I'm fortunate in that no real health issues caused me to reverse my path into bad habits. Really, it is knowing that I want to live a long and healthy life. I want to have children and live to see them grow and be healthy. I want to raise children to have a healthy outlook at food and exercise. I want to feel good every day. I want to know that the choices I make benefit not only me, but also the people that love me.

I just decided to change. For me.

I started incorporating some weights into my workouts. I signed up for an 8K with the intention of doing a 10K later this year. I am starting to try to improve my running workouts so I am faster. I have been working out four to five times per week.

I am eating a ton of fresh vegetables. I am making my own hummus. I am trying to eat whole foods. If I want to splurge on something, I do. But I allow that splurge to stand and then go back to eating mostly vegetables and whole foods. I have one glass of red wine a night, if I drink at all. Some nights I don't have anything to drink. I plan our meals. I try to change our dinners and lunches so that we enjoy our meals. We don't eat salads all week long. I am aware of every morsel that goes in my mouth, good or bad. I let myself have a second glass on the weekends and have been known to have a bloody mary or two (WHAT? I'm testing out my husband's recipe, it would be rude to NOT drink what he makes). I'm not worried about that.

Right now? I sleep like a baby. I am not starving myself. I drink a ton of tea. P.I.C. and I enjoy dinners at our kitchen table and savor our one glass of wine each night and really enjoy mealtime. I have lost two pounds and am starting to see some biceps. I feel so much better about myself. Of course, the weight loss is a very lovely side effect of my changes. When I put on my bikini next week in St. Thomas, I'll feel better about it.

But really, this is not a diet. This is a life change. I'm so glad I made it.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Oxford needs a manicure.

For those of you keeping track, yes, I am the "momma" to a fluffy Himalayan cat. Why? Number one, I love cats. Sorry, I'd be a cat lady if allowed. LOVE. THEM. Number two, I'm allergic to most other cats. It sounds backwards, I'm aware, but short-haired domestic cats make me sneeze and make me want to claw my eyeballs right out of my head. (However, this does not stop me from snuggling them and petting them and playing with them. I love them that much.) I realized through my parents that Himalayan cats do not cause such a reaction. Therefore, if I wanted to live with a cat and retain my eyeballs, I had to get a Himalayan. That's how I came to own my little bubs.

Now, Himalayan parenting* comes with additional challenges in addition to the usual pet issues. They need to be brushed frequently to prevent matting and knots in their fur. They need to have their faces wiped down because the flat faces, while cute, can create drainage issues. Sexy, right?

Last night, I was attempting to comb Oxford. He unequivocally hates this activity. I usually have to pin part of his body down and fake let him go, only to catch him and pin him to the ground. This might sound mean, but if they get knots, they pull at their tiny little bodies and cause problems. So he must be combed. Oh, and the person that said if I did it from a young age? You lied. I brushed that little asshole from the day I got him at 7 weeks old and he NEVER liked it.

Of course, I do the occasional lion cut to make life easier on both of us. He doesn't have to do the whole "I'm pissed and going to claw out your eyes"" thing, and I don't have to treat my wounds with hydrogen peroxide. Chicago winters make me not want to do this, however. So in the winter, Oxford gets brushed. I usually bleed, but he gets brushed, looks pretty, and gets really pissed off.

So, back to last night. I was brushing him with the FURminator, a relatively fantastic grooming device that not only pulls out any tangles, but also thins out the coat to create less potential for mats in the fur. Of course, this particular brush is the one Oxford hates the most. He cowers and runs from me at the very sight of this brush, so I have to hide it behind my back as I approach him. I was really getting him groomed last night when he got me. His nail stuck into my leg so far, it got stuck. Of course, it hurt like mad. It was more of a puncture wound than the usual scratch. Clearly, grooming time was done. I was covered in a thick coat of shedded cat fur, bleeding from my leg, and near tears. Time to put the brush away. I cleaned myself up and was done for the night. I attempted to woo him back to me with his favorite treat, but he was still rather cautious around me.

This morning, he started clawing at me from the bed, as he does sometimes. (He likes to establish that once I leave, the bed is his territory, and he will defend it.) Well, I felt his claw and realized that I should check his nails to make sure we don't have another ingrown dew claw. (That was a rather pricey incident that caused my vet to look rather judgily at me.) I picked him up to check, which I can usually do with relative ease when he stuck me again. RIGHT. IN. THE. THROAT. I removed his claw carefully, then hurried to the bathroom.

It didn't appear to be quite as bad as my leg, so I was relieved. Another swabbing of hydrogen peroxide and I was on my way to the gym.

Rest assured, in addition to some combing, that cat is getting his damn nails clipped tonight.

* Do I sound like a pretentious douche for saying "parenting" instead of ownership? Or perhaps I sound animal crazy? I don't care. I suspect it's a side effect of cat scratch fever, which I am sure I have given the amount of blood my cat has drawn via his claws.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The treadmill.

You all know the story of how I got starting running. Well, ever since that very first 5K, I've kept on running. Occasionally. Perhaps not as often as I should, but I get at it occasionally. I don't hate it so much anymore, and in fact, just signed up to do an 8K. For those who are not mathematically inclined, that is THREE MORE Ks, GUYS. Whoa.

So lately, I've been hitting up the treadmills at our gym. Really, I do enjoy running outside way more than on a treadmill, but in Chicago winter, it's difficult. Add in the dark hours and it's difficult to find a time to go when there is (a) no ice on the sidewalk and (b) enough light to not worry about safety running alone when I work normal business hours. So I run on the treadmills at my gym. They're nice, brand new, and I can watch MTV shows such as "Friend Zone" and squeal when teenagers make a love connection. It's all fun for me. Except there is this one thing. I am fairly convinced that I will be one of those people that falls off a treadmill.

I was talking about going to the gym with my coworker the other day. She told me that she hated the treadmill. I told her that I didn't love it, but running made me feel good afterwards, so I sucked it up. The only days I do not do the treadmill are the days where I am too tired. Those are the days I feel rather certain I will fall off. I did tell her that I figured that one day I'd be one of those people that fell off a treadmill. She asked me, "Why do you even run on a treadmill if you think you will fall off?"

Really, it's a perfectly reasonable question. She makes a valid point. I responded in typical irrational form, "Well, I just want to know how it's going to happen. Will I go straight back? Will I take out other people when I fall? If I stop running on a treadmill, I will never know."

Not to toot my own horn, but yeah, my questions seem pretty great too. Wouldn't YOU want to know? I'll let you know when it does happen, trust me.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Offices and the restroom.

DISCLAIMER: This is all potty humor. Literally. I'm about to talk about farts and poop in the office setting. If you get grossed out, or don't want to deal with it, don't read it. 

Anyone who works in an office knows that issues always arise in the restrooms. Whether it's the cleaning of dirty dishes in the sinks (USE THE UTILITY SINK, yo!) or just general uncleanliness abounding, they can be nasty, nasty spots in your place of employment. There are all sorts of unspoken rules for both women and men (as my husband as reassured me, it's like dudes at the movie theater, leave a urinal or a stall in between, please). Occasionally, it's a place for TERRIFIC passive-aggressive notes. Occasionally, there is the gift of an air freshener by one person who has just had enough of the shit smell. But without a doubt, office bathroom usage is always tricky and always brings out the nasty in employees.

At my last job, we had two ladies in the adjacent office who I deemed the "Bathroom Farters." Older ladies, they just did not care when it came to bathroom courtesies. You'd be in there, washing your hands, and they'd come in, drop their pants and just let. it. go. Like, the biggest farts you'd ever hear. Of course, I have no maturity when it comes to this sort of thing, so I'd have to flee the bathroom, both in fits of giggles at the farting going on, and also in fear that I was about to be gassed with the foul old lady bathroom smell.

And every office has the quiet stall creeper. You know what I'm talking about, the person that will park themselves in the stall and sit there and wait until you leave before they proceed with their bathroom business. Honestly, these people creep me out more than the bathroom farters. I know you're in there. You KNOW I know you're in there. By just sitting there, I KNOW you are waiting for me to leave so you can gift that porcelain with some of your own ass gifts. You are now forcing me to hurry while washing my hands and forgo my habit of making sure that there is no toilet paper stuck to my shoe (or that my skirt is appropriately adjusted) in front of the whole length mirror. YOU ARE WELCOME. GO ABOUT YOUR POOPING BUSINESS. I WILL RISK THE TOILET PAPER ON MY SHOE.

Then there are the inconsiderate hoverers. I read a great blog article on this awhile back that I sadly cannot locate to link, but this is one of my least favorite people in the bathroom. I GET that you do not want to put your naked ass to the same seat as every other lady on our floor. I GET that you are trying to avoid disease. But please, please, please clean up after yourself. Your aim is off. You piss all over the seat. WIPE IT UP. The paper towels you COAT the seat with? Throw them away, don't just leave them on the floor or let them clog the toilet.

OK. I lied. My least favorite person in the bathroom is the one who drops a huge log and forgets where the flush is. Please, for the love of ALL that is good in this world, FLUSH THE DAMN TOILET. You are the worst. THE WORST.

I hate office bathrooms. HATE. THEM.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Verbal high five of the day!

It is no secret that I tend to be passive-aggressive. I don't like confrontation so much, and I have a fear of people disliking me. I think that's from where the passive-aggressive nature stems. Unfortunately, this leads me to let things simmer until I get really pissed and misplace my actual aggressive.

This morning, I saw something that broke my heart. P.I.C. were on our way into the gym at our usual hour when we noticed a curious sight. There was a dog tied up to the bike rack outside of our gym. Keep in mind, it is 5:30 a.m. and pitch black outside. The temperature was maybe twenty degrees. It was cold. But this poor dog was sitting outside in the cold.

We walked into the gym, exchanging looks, as we heard that poor little guy barking outside. The guy behind the desk at the gym read my expression and said, "Yeah, I know. She does that sometimes." WHAT? So, the gist is apparently when this girl comes to the gym, she ties her dog up outside because he barks and her neighbors complain. (For the record, we have never see this dog tied up outside our gym before, and we have been coming to our gym for over two years at the same time.) I felt awful about this immediately. Of course, I'm not the kind of person to go tell someone how to live their life, ya know the whole "non-confrontational" thing, so I just made my way to the treadmills for my morning run.

I'd been on the treadmill for about twenty minutes when I saw the front desk guy walk over another guy in his coat and point out the girl on the treadmill. The new guy walked up to the girl, stood on the vacant treadmill, and proceeded to tell her she couldn't just tie her dog up outside. I didn't hear the entire conversation because I had headphones in, but sure enough, he hopped off the treadmill, grabbed her coat and left, taking the dog with her.

So, to you, the man that rather kindly told that woman what all of us were thinking, THANK YOU. You get a high five today for doing the right thing. That girl? She should get a slap across the face. What a jerk.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oh. My. God, you guys.

Over a week ago, I drafted a totally witty, thoughtful post about 2011. I even included a few resolutions, even though I don't believe in them. I followed up with my resolutions from last year (again, even though I don't believe in them.) I fully intended on posting it on New Years Eve.

TOO BAD, SO SAD. In lieu of dutifully posting my thought-out post, I got out of town. P.I.C. and I trekked up north for some winter fun with friends. We enjoyed a Jersey Shore-style spaghetti dinner at an over-sized dining room table (minus the solo cups, sorry), several rounds of girls-versus-boys "Celebrity" (if you do not know how to play this game, ASK ME. It's amazingly fun), and a rather grueling two-hour ski lesson for P.I.C. and myself. Our friends were more ski inclined and tore up the runs for hours, whereas P.I.C. and I just took our lesson and decided to hit the bar. We toasted New Years with the ball drop and then again when it was midnight in Chicago. We kissed, hugged, drank champagne. It was absolutely marvelous.

So, I have made this decision: I'm not going to post my recap. You guys read it ALL FREAKING YEAR LONG. You know I got hitched. You know we went to forty-five weddings (okay, seven, but still, that's a lot), you know I whined about money. It's fine. I don't need to repeat myself. I trust you are all up to date. As for resolutions? I really don't think that the start of a year is a reason to change things in my life. If I want things to change, I will just begin to take steps to change them. Waiting for an arbitrary date to do so seems bullshit to me. (Word.)

That being said, happy 2012! Cheers to making this one better than the last!