Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Is everyone ready to eat ridiculous amounts of food?? :) Actually, I'm not -- I had every intention of bounding out of bed this morning at 4:50 so I could get in a few miles on the treadmill before heading into work (yes, when I work out in the morning I get up at 4:50... I am, obviously, insane). But I have been seriously tired this week... so I ended up sleeping right until the alarm went off at 5:30. I HATE waking up to a buzzing alarm -- and I can ALMOST always wake up without one, except when I'm really, really tired and haven't had nearly enough sleep. Which is apparently what happened this morning. So I'll have to TRY to get in a workout when I get home from work this afternoon... here's hoping I don't feel exhausted when I walk through my door...

We're actually having an early Thanksgiving this year -- dinner is tonight at my parents' house. Rick's sister Donna is in town JUST for today, so we moved the traditional Thursday dinner to Wednesday (is that even allowed?? Have we broken some cardinal rule of Thanksgiving???). Hence my disappointment with not fitting in a workout this morning -- I need a preemptive calorie burn. But I suppose sleep is important, too...

So in the spirit of the holiday, I thought I should list a few things I'm thankful for:

* Rick, who, for some reason, has put up with me over the last few months even though my new job has turned me into a crazy person. (Even more crazy than usual... I know that's hard to believe... :))

* My mom and dad and brothers... I DARE you to find a mom and dad who are as kind and generous and compassionate and awesome as mine... I dare you... I'll wait... (couldn't do it, could you? Didn't think so... :)) And of course I have to give a special bullet point to:

* Eric, the coolest brother in the entire known universe (and probably even in a few unknown universes, as well). I DARE you to find a brother as cool as mine... (forget it, you can't do it, so I'm not even waiting...)

(* This is not to say that Robert/Bob/Bobert/The Fish Whisperer is not also cool... and if he were here this week, you can bet I'd be thankful for whatever he was cooking for dinner... as long as it wasn't fish... just a disclaimer... :))

* My friends -- especially the ones who take the time to check this blog on a regular basis, even though I've been rather sporadic with the updates lately. Thanks, guys! :)

* My aforementioned insanity-inducing stress-filled job... I can't honestly say I'm always thankful for this one, because it has sapped my energy and increased my stress level about a hundredfold... but I definitely TRY to be thankful for it, because I was fortunate enough to actually GET a job at a time when so many people were LOSING theirs...

* My treadmill and my ability to actually USE it -- I am so thankful for my health and my love of workouts, and my ever-improving eating habits... I can only imagine how much MORE tired and stressed out I'd be if I never exercised and sat on the couch eating ding dongs when I got home from work... :)

* Coffee. Coffee is so great.

* And chocolate. Chocolate is great, too.

* And peppermint mochas at Starbucks -- I love those this time of year...

Okay, it seems my list is devolving into a love of coffee and chocolate (but let's face it, they are both quite vital to life... okay, MY life... :)), so I'm off for now. I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This post is useless... but at least it's something...

This was a crazy, stressful week for me, which culminated in some kind of really fun stomach bug Friday night (I suspect food poisoning, which I'll have to write about at a later date...). So I've spent much of today catching up on all of the housework I normally would've spent ALL weekend catching up on... suffice it to say, I've had very little time and/or energy this week to write for the blog. But since I really wanted to post SOMEthing today, here are some random pictures I took today:

Hmmm... not the best picture of me... but at least it's in black and white, which makes it seem so much more artsy and pensive...

I've had lots of candles burning today... trying to make my house feel more Thanksgivingey/Christmasey...

Piva checking out the wooden cat by the fireplace...

Allegro, sprawled out on the kitchen floor (these days, she pretty much just plops down wherever she happens to be when she gets tired... poor little 18-year-old kitty... :)).

Echo, who always hops up every time she sees me point a camera at her... maybe she doesn't like having her picture taken?

Hope everyone had a good weekend! :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two weeks until Thanksgiving...

What??? Seriously? Only two weeks until Santa makes his way to New York City for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and officially kicks off the Christmas season? Only two weeks?!?

I reeeeeaaaaaally need to start thinking about starting my Christmas shopping...

I've been feeling a bit extra-frazzled this week (even though I had the day off yesterday for Veteran's Day) because I made the loony decision to take on some freelance work. So even though I WAS able to sleep in yesterday (Oh, blissful sleep! Oh, slumber of the gods! How do I love thee? With fluffy pillow and cozy duvet... thou art precious, bestowed by heaven... yet much too elusive... Yeah, I like my sleep, okay? :)), um, where was I? Oh yeah -- so even though I slept in yesterday, I ended up spending the entire day working in one way or another. I not only knocked out most of my freelance job, but I also tackled some laundry, cleaned the kitchen, made lunch and dinner, wrote down a list of Christmas gift recipients (and that's as far as my Christmas shopping has gone so far...), and ran interference on a couple cats who kept trying to sneak out the front door while a guy was repainting it (a post-hail-storm repair).

Actually, Allegro DID manage to make a break for it at one point -- I noticed that she wasn't in her usual spot in her bed on the floor, and I couldn't find her anywhere downstairs. And she doesn't go upstairs a LOT, but she does occasionally, so I ran up to ask Rick if she was hanging out with him in his study. But nope, no Allegro. And then we walked out to the landing at the top of the stairs, and we could see her OUTSIDE on the sidewalk just past our front porch. Just exploring. Sniffing the grass. Checking out the rarely-seen natural world. Rick ran downstairs and herded her back inside, and then she and Piva spent the next couple hours trying to stealthily sneak back toward the open door. (What's funny is that when she was younger, Allegro probably would've been hiding under the bed because a stranger was in the house. But now that she's going on 18 years old, that cat will do ANYTHING... :))

Needless to say, sometime around 7:00 last night I realized that I'd had an entire day off, and I hadn't spent ANY time just sitting around relaxing. Which made me momentarily burst into tears... and THAT prompted Rick to suggest that we make some hot chocolate and hang out watching one of our Tivoed episodes of "House." He even stuck around and watched one of my recorded episodes of "Monk" with me (which is akin to me watching one of HIS episodes of Stargate, or Babylon 5, or Farscape, or some other sci-fi-type show... in other words, a bit of a sacrifice, and, therefore, much appreciated). Great idea, Rick -- thanks!! :)

Fortunately, I should only have about an hour of my freelance work to finish, which I'll take care of when I get home so I can FedEx the work back to Chicago. And then I just have to get through tomorrow and the weekend will finally be here (Oh, glorious weekend! Oh-- what? Too much adulation? Okay, I'll stop... for now... :))

And maybe I'll work on that Christmas shopping this weekend...

Thursday, November 05, 2009


And that's all I have time for right now... :)

Monday, November 02, 2009

That's why they don't call it a sparkly happy fun time...

When I first started my job, I felt completely overwhelmed. I was used to having TIME -- time to read, time to write, time to work out, time to cook a great dinner AND clean up afterwards, time to run out for coffee, time to grocery shop, time to take care of the pets, time to do laundry, time to clean the bathroom, time to vacuum, time to watch a good Yankee game, even if it ran into extra innings and wasn't over until well past midnight... in fact, some days I accomplished all of the above, and STILL woke up the next morning feeling well-rested and ready for another day.

And then it changed, literally overnight. All of a sudden, that great TIME was gone... my bed called to me much earlier than a bed SHOULD start beckoning its owner, and I was thrown back into the full-time working world, inheriting an office that was so disorganized I didn't even know where to start. I spent weeks stressing out over the haphazard condition of folders and binders and computer files and drawers full of whoknowswhat, and even now, I'm really not certain that I have it all figured out (where ARE those 2008 media clips, anyway???).

At first, all I could see was the long term -- every Monday morning, I'd drag myself out of bed and get ready, eventually heading out the door with my thermal mug of coffee, grasping it as if the cherished liquid inside could truly transform me into a happy, chipper optimist... but knowing that I still had FOUR DAYS of early-mornings-and-coffee-guzzling before I could sleep in (oh, perfect, precious sleep... how I love thee...). And it seemed too much to handle... if it was so hard to drag myself to work ONE day, how would I ever be able to do it for five days in a row??

And then I realized something -- there was nothing I could do about those five days. They would come and go, the same as every other week, and sooner or later the weekend would be upon us once more. Just like little Stephen Dedalus discovered in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man... "but one time it would come, because the earth moved round always." He was referring to Christmas vacation, but it works just as well for the weekend, too...

So instead of waking up every Monday morning wondering HOW I will get through the week, and how I'll be able to hop out of bed at 5:30 every day, and how I'll get the carpet vacuumed or the laundry finished or dinner cooked, or how on earth I'll be able to stay up past bed-beckoning time to watch the Yankees win the World Series and not fall asleep at work the next day, and how I'll ever get to that elusive point where I can turn the alarm OFF and just sleep until whenever -- I simply remind myself to get through TODAY. That's all I have to do today. I will deal with today TODAY, and tomorrow can wait for tomorrow. Otherwise it's just too overwhelming...

And hey, look -- I'm already finished with dreaded Monday! (And wow -- two posts in two days! I am on a blogging roll... :))

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I must be nuts...

Happy November, everyone! So did everyone have a nice Halloween? I did – Rick and I did our usual “turn off the porch light and go out to dinner” thing. It’s our Halloween tradition. Yeah, that’s right, we’re the mean people on the street who never give out any candy. :) Hey, it could be worse – we COULD give out toothbrushes… that was my suggestion this year, but Rick didn’t think it was a good idea. We also mulled the idea of an Obama Halloween – that’s where we would’ve just put a box on our porch with a sign asking kids to “share their wealth” and leave US some candy. Just because we weren’t in costumes or handing out candy to anyone or participating in any way doesn’t mean that we don’t have JUST as much right to that candy as those little kids… so c’mon, kids – hand over the Kit Kats and Snickers and Almond Joys… it’s the American way… (apparently… ;))

Actually, I’ll pass on the Almond Joys – or anything else with almonds. I’ve recently discovered that certain nuts may not agree with me very much. As I’ve mentioned before, for quite a while now I’ve been making an effort to eat a decent diet and exercise as much as possible. And I’ve been dismayed by the fact that my exercise routine has become much too sporadic since I started my job. My eating habits, however, have remained pretty consistent. In lieu of “bad” snacks like chips or candy or cookies – things that may be quite portable and easy to take to work, but not conducive to a healthy diet – I’ve been opting for things like apples and bananas and homemade trail mix.

But soon after I started my job, I noticed that my face was breaking out… and while, of course, I’ve had the occasional zit now and then, they usually only pop up in lone, solitary formation and hang around for about two days… then they retreat and fade away and I don’t see another one for quite a while. All of a sudden, however, they were popping up every week. At first only one or two, which I wrote off to stress – after all, I’d just started a new job, I had a totally new schedule, I was tired, I was freaked out over the relentless disorganization in my new office, I couldn’t figure out how to balance everything I needed to do at home with my lack of time (actually, I STILL can’t figure that out…). But then it seemed like every other day I was seeing another little spot popping up, marring my previously flawless face (hahahaha!! Sorry, I couldn’t say that without laughing… :)).

So I tried to think of what in the world could’ve been going on – what had changed? I wasn’t putting anything weird on my face… the only thing different was the job. And then Rick asked me if I’d been EATING anything different. At first, I couldn’t think of anything that I was eating that I hadn’t already been eating… and then I remembered the homemade trail mix that I’d been taking to work with me every day – I was mixing up almonds, walnuts and dried fruit, and putting a little in a Ziploc bag for a mid-morning snack. I was eating it just about every day… every day since I’d started the job. Could it have been the nuts?? I decided to try an experiment – stop eating my almonds and walnuts for a week or so and see what happened. And lo and behold, after about five days my face started clearing up.

So I guess it’s possible that I have some sort of sensitivity to nuts – or at least almonds and/or walnuts. I’ve thought about trying each of them separately, to see if either of them has more of an effect on my skin, but I’m sort of afraid to try it. I’d rather not have to stock up on Clearasil just so I can eat a few nuts.

What’s funny is that I’ve never really LIKED nuts all that much (maybe that’s why I’ve always had pretty clear skin?? :)), but have recently developed more of a taste for them. But if I’m going to break out every time I eat them, I think I’d rather go back to my nut-free ways…

Well, it’s getting close to my bedtime (it’s not even 9 o’clock yet – isn’t that ridiculous?? I wish I could stay up to watch the World Series, but if I do, I’ll fall asleep at my desk tomorrow…). Hope everyone has a great week!