Princess Listy.

December 4, 2008

I am so, so sick. My mom was here for two weeks, and apparently my body waited just until she left and I was alone with a wrecked house and a crabby preschooler to spring full-blown into my first cold of the season. In light of this, I am using a draft I started… uh… before Thanksgiving (hush), adding updates where appropriate & in italics.


1) I participated in a clothing swap via Elastic Waist and, hey, who knew fat girl clothes could be cute? I even got a COAT, a gorgeous knee-length black swing coat with faux-fur cuffs and collar. It was a red-letter day indeed, especially since I actually managed to mail out my part of the swap only two weeks late!

One of my packages has even made it to its recipient, who likes the stuff I sent! I’m getting pretty good at this whole Internet thing, I think.

2) My mom is here, halfway through a two-week stay. We’ve found her an apartment and signed her up for some freelance blah-blah, and I have my fingers crossed that the local economy will magically improve just in time for her to find a job. In the meantime, things are kind of crowded but Connor’s getting a big kick out of all the attention.

My mom is, as of last night, in her new apartment and getting all set up to conquer Portales. We had a decent visit, but I slacked on the housework because somehow an extra person = OMG I WILL NEVER DO CHORES, so now my house is kind of gross. I plan to deal with this at some point, really.

3) Work! It is slow! Except sometimes it is fast! But mostly it is slow!

It seems to have picked up as of yesterday, but I am not counting on anything right now. I am also two freaking weeks behind on Christmas saving, saving for a Mystery Trip at the end of the month, and oh yeah — bill money. Bah.

4) I’m doing my Thanksgiving shopping, uh, today. I had these awesome plans for brining a 16-pound bird and making homemade pie crusts and bacon-wrapped dates, but then I got sucked into a work/kid/houseguest vortex and so… I think we’re going to end up with a small chicken and a frozen pie, and I am totally okay with that. I am not okay with shopping the day before the holiday, but what can you do? (PREPARE EARLY. I know.)

Somehow the small chicken and frozen pie became a small chicken, steamed herbed asparagus, roast vegetables, herbed rice, stuffing, cranberries dipped in white chocolate, and a frozen pie. It was all very good and Thanksgiving was surprisingly nice, except that I drank too much wine. We played lots of video games and later I watched lots of old GooGoo Dolls videos on YouTube, so it was a multimedia extravaganza! We just threw out the last of the leftovers two days ago, and now I am staunchly avoiding any thoughts about Christmas dinner. It’s the circle of life!


1) We have two new kittens; I don’t think I’ve mentioned that here before. We found one the day my great-grandmother died, a very pretty and panther-like little black kitten whom Connor named Tomato. The other was brought to us by the Non-Asshole Neighbors, who found him in our neighboring town. He has seven toes on each paw, and thus we named him Sep(timus).

2) I got ponytail bangs cut into my hair on a whim the other day, and there are many pictures over at Flickr. For a whim, I think the hair looks rather nice.

3) I won a paper shredder on the radio a couple of weeks ago. The day after Thanksgiving, Michael won a Trucker Christmas (?) from the same station. Apparently, ’tis the season to try our luck.

I think I have much more to tell you all, but it seems my brain has been replaced by a particularly lumpy booger. (You’re welcome.) The cats are fine, Connor is fine (if crabby), Michael is fine, I am mostly fine. I have two very large new books and a comfy bed, if I could only figure out what to do about the kid and the house while I make use of them. Why don’t you all tell me about your Thanksgiving and/or Christmas plans and/or cold remedies and/or niggling complaints? That would be lovely.


My website is worth $1686.30!

November 12, 2008

My site is worth $1686.3.
How much is yours worth?

Or, you know, it would be, were I to post more than twice a month and then decide to sell a WordPress site to someone who did not realize that WordPress sites are free.

So! How are you? Long time no type, for I am one lazy ho. There has been nothing of note in my life lately, and I’ve been far too gray and mopey and exhausted and ennui-stricken to make anything seem noteworthy. Thus I present to you a list of Things That Have Happened and/or Things I Have Thought About Recently:

1) I started correlating what I eat with how I feel, and surprise! Turns out I need to eat meat on a nightly basis or I will wake up with a death wish! I thought the daily death wish was just my general state of affairs — you know, oh this modern lifestyle, how it scalds my gentle soul — but no, it was just low protein. Also, did you know that fiber can, like, regulate your blood sugar and keep the brain-fog at bay? Because it can! So now I eat copious amounts of Triscuits and cheese for lunch every day, and steak or pork or delicious, crackly-tender roast for dinner. FOR MY HEALTH.

2) ChaCha implemented a new system that, quite literally, doubled my average earnings overnight. And then! They broke it, and my earnings have dropped to something like $2/hour for the past three days. I am certain that they will fix it, but in the meantime I am living on the edge, and my in-laws actually loaned us $20 the other day for gas because I’d already spent eight hours that day making money at snail’s pace for Connor’s medicine.

3) Oh, yeah, that. Connor is sick. It’s just a cold, but he is endearingly attention-hungry in a stalwart way — he’s incredibly, in-your-face cheerful and brave about the whole thing, as if to let everyone know that he is suffering horribly and yet soldiers manfully on. I’ve slept in his room the past two nights because once it gets dark he is too miserable for me to remain unmoved, which means that I’m due to come down with the plague any minute now.

4) I discovered a recipe for strawberry-margarita cheesecake, and I’m trying to convince myself not to make it until Thanksgiving. With holiday cooking nigh upon us, I don’t think I should be leaving strawberry-margarita cheesecakes lying about in proximity to my gaping maw, but oh how it calls to me.

5) I did, however, make almond-poppyseed muffins today, and I’ve spent the whole day wishing I could get my hands on a home drug-testing kit so that I could test positive for heroin just once before I die. MythBusters told me that this is possible, and now I must try it! Though last time I got my hands on a home substance-testing kit (a drugstore Breathalyzer), the results were dismal — I found that my overall tolerance is much lower than previously suspected.

6) I am starting to plan out my holiday cooking, and I have realized that I’m not really sure how to brine a turkey. Do you just make some supersaturated saltwater, plop the turkey in, and leave it there for 24 hours? Is there a special mixture that one needs to have on hand, like supersaturated saltwater, sage, eye of newt, and three hairs of a virgin? I am strangely disinclined to Google “turkey brining methods,” probably because I fear Google will lose all respect for me in the morning. Also, as long as I’m supersaturating water with salt, surely I could then leave the water to evaporate and lick the resultant salt crystals? I just need information here, people.

7) I don’t like multiples of three. Thus, a seventh, non-essential, item.

There! I feel I’ve done an admirable job of bringing you all up to speed. Now… turnabout is fair play. The comments section awaits!

Somebody smack me.

August 26, 2008

Today, I need to be smug. Today it is 84 degrees, sunny, with a gentle cooling breeze. I have completed the first half of my day’s work, and settled in with coffee, a bagel, and a cigarette. I have the rest of my day pleasantly mapped out — it includes picking a couple of gorgeous garden tomatoes, getting some more work done, and ordering some DVDs and books from Amazon.

There are flies in the ointment: My husband is going away in a couple of weeks to take his first-ever paid vacation. Well… that’s not entirely accurate. He has had paid vacations before, but they consisted of sitting at home, bored, because we could not afford to go anywhere or do anything. This year he’s going to a gaming convention in Albuquerque for three days, and it will be awesome for him, and it’ll even be okay for me. (See above, re: buying DVDs and books. I’m prepared and shit.)

Also, I have developed pulsatile tinnitus, and it’s just as irritating as it sounds. (How it sounds: whoosh WHOOSH whoosh WHOOSH whoosh WHOOSHWHOOSHWHOOSHWHOOSH!… Whoosh!) I’ve had it for about a month, but I only thought to Google “whooshing noise in ears” two days ago. I thought it would go away. I was, apparently, wrong. I am going to have to call the clinic, find out how much an appointment is for people on the low end of the sliding scale, and get it checked out. In the meantime, it is driving me batshit insane and I should probably give up caffeine and nicotine very, very annoying, and I hope the doctor finds an easily fixed cause.

So, yes. Flies in the ointment for sure, but the ointment itself is pretty awesome. (That metaphor? Kind of disturbing.) I feel like my life is under control for the first time in forever; I feel regulated. I feel as if it’s finally all right to enjoy things like coffee and bagels on a sunny day, like it’s no longer my duty to be always aware that rent is due! And the electricity bill is too high! And we’ve got to figure out how to get Connor’s fall clothes! And the living room needs new blinds! This stuff has been figured out. I can handle it, now, and I can take breaks — every day! — wherein I just kick back and focus on the good stuff. It makes for a boring blog, this crisis-less state of being, but it also makes for an awesome late summer.

The garden. The advent of fall. Onion bagels. The fancy-pants coffee maker I’ve had for months and barely used. New books. Fully paid, in-no-way-delinquent bills. I am one smug motherfucker right now.

Nothing, really.

April 26, 2008

I am having some sort of Tae-Block… or Block-Bo… or, you know what? There’s a joke there, but I can’t find it. So anyway, I am having some sort of STRANGE MENTAL AND PHYSICAL DISORDER wherein I know I should be working out right now, but I am not. I don’t want to. I want to sit here and slump slowly into a puddle of girl-ooze in this computer chair, tongue lolling and muscles flaccid, until something happens to make me want to work out again. I know that this is a product of the long wait for appropriate Tae-Bo tapes, and I know that if I just get up and do it I will feel awesome, but no. I say nay.

(Backstory? Okay, well, I bought a Tae-Bo cardio DVD that claimed to be “fun for newcomers” and it was not. It kicked my ass and made me fall down a lot and sometimes made me just stare at the TV in a complete stupor because the people, they went so fast, and was I supposed to be doing that? And what were they doing, anyway, because it was ALL A BLUR! So I ordered the instructional and basic tapes and they took longer to come in than I thought they would so I sort of sat on my butt for a week and a half, and then when they got here I sat on my butt some more, and then I ran through the instructional tape a couple of times, and now… here I am, again with the butt-sitting. There, wasn’t that fascinating?)

Um. Where was I? Strange block, feeling lazy, don’t want to work out, typing typing typing. I don’t think it helps that it’s almost 80 degrees outside today, which means it is roughly eleventy billion degrees in my apartment (due to convection or something, no shut up I mean it, that is a REAL FIGURE). Also, I didn’t sleep well last night, probably because I haven’t been exerc — I mean, because of the stress. All the stress and worry that is exhausting me and making me sit right here in this chair, pouring out made-up excuses in a classic workout-avoidance technique. Also, I’m still kind of afraid of Billy Blanks. You know, we just haven’t built up a core of trust, and I’m feeling a little nervous about taking this relationship to the next level. What if he’s not the one? What if I regret it for the rest of my life? What if we get to the point of commifrrfgljdslkzzzzz…

What? Huh? Oh, sorry. You’re right, this is incredibly boring. What else should I talk about? There must be many exciting things going on in my life right now, which is why I’m updating on a Saturday! Because my existence is so rich and full! So, um… well, I kind of have to pee. Not enough to get out of this chair and go pee, but definitely enough to be making plans to get up soon. (Fascinating, Sara. Tell us more! I can see the headlines now: “Area Woman Avoids Exercise, Kind of Needs to Tinkle.”) Connor is hanging out with his grandparents today, because I made foolish plans to apply for a couple of jobs without realizing that oh yeah, today is Saturday. Which is the logical successor to Friday. Which was yesterday. Duh.

Hmm, this is kind of becoming an exercise in its own right, isn’t it. How long can I blather on about absolutely nothing in a desperate attempt to keep doing the same? Actually, about — wait for it — this long. You should all come play in the comments section, though. Comment moderation is an important job, and I’d love to have it today. It’s almost like a legitimate reason to stay right here in my chair.

Open letter.

April 4, 2008

Dear Mr. Blanks,

Oh, Billy. May I call you Billy? I just feel like we’re closer now, especially since you made me cry with frustration. You see, Billy, I have a little problem: I don’t know what the fucking hell you want from me. You’re lovely, really, but… when you tell me to put my right leg forward and balance on it while kicking with my left leg, then tell me to step forward with my right leg even though it’s already forward and also holding me up, I have no idea what to do. When you swing into an exercise without first telling me what the exercise is or how to do it, I have even less of a clue. And when you start shouting for me to double-time it in the middle of a set, well, that’s when I start throwing things.

I’m sure you’re a nice person, so tell me: how the fuck do I do this? Because this DVD of yours, the one with your manic face and assurances that “newcomers” will “enjoy” the experience, makes no goddamn sense. Perhaps you are more accustomed to teaching people with three or four extraneous limbs, but I assure you that the great majority of your clientele have only two legs and two arms. I can’t kick with one leg, support myself with one leg, and step forward and back with another leg. I am also not telepathic, and would therefore like a little bit of warning before you change up the exercise. I feel like something of an idiot when your perky, sweaty little followers are on their second set before I stop squinting at the screen and make enough sense of the new exercise to half-heartedly attempt to follow along.

There is a theme here, Billy — perhaps I should revert to calling you Mr. Blanks here — and that theme is simple: THIS IS A BEGINNER’S WORKOUT, YOU DRIPPING, SMELLY SADIST. I respectfully request that you a) slow it the hell down, b) take ten seconds out of your busy recording schedule to explain the exercises, and c) package the requisite extraneous limbs with your DVDs if you must incorporate them into your routines.

The fat one

P.S. Ow. Those… uh, tricep things are painful after the fourth set. For real, cut that shit out.

Dr. Love.

March 24, 2008

I love Connor’s new doctor. We had to take him (Connor, that is) in kind of abruptly this morning because his cold was much worse, and we’re working with a new guy because our last pediatrician committed some confidentiality breaches. I was fully expecting this visit to take at least two hours, because they generally do and we called at the last minute. Instead, we left the house at 11:20 and got home at 12:05.

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my head spinning around as I try to catch sight of the wormhole.

Connor’s new doctor is in the same practicing group as his old doctor, so I expected a lot of the problems we’d had before to follow us. I expected long waits, rushed visits, and a standing prescription for Amoxicillin that I’d have to argue against on most visits. (“No, I told you, it’s not his ears — he twisted his ankle, and I don’t think Amoxil is the answer. Okay then, if you’re sure…”) It turns out that most of those problems were specific to the old doctor — or specific to all doctors except our new one — because ever since we switched, things have gone swimmingly.

Check it: we arrived, checked in, and the doctor was waiting for us. He was already in the exam room, reviewing Connor’s history and the list of symptoms we’d reported when we made the appointment. He remembered Connor, even though he’d only seen him once before. And the thing I loved most of all? He talked and listened to Connor. That’s right. He remembered Connor’s verbal acuity, realized that Connor was the patient despite my hovering-mother tendencies, and asked him how he felt. He listened patiently to Connor’s answers, spoke quietly to Michael and I about what we’d noticed, and gave Connor a thorough exam. He agreed with me that antibiotics aren’t necessary for every little thing, especially since it looks like what Connor has are recurring allergy flare-ups. He paid attention to our views on medical treatment, but stood firm on his own diagnosis.

Love! This is such a difference from our last doctor. Our last doctor made us wait in the lobby for twenty minutes, then an additional forty in the exam room. Our last doctor spoke patronizingly to Connor and pretty much ignored him when he spoke up about his own symptoms and feelings. Our last doctor spoke patronizingly to us and pretty much ignored us when we spoke up about Connor’s symptoms and feelings. Our last doctor would do nothing more than hand us a prescription for antibiotics — sometimes without even doing an exam — if Michael’s mom called in and requested it. Something was very, very wrong there.

Find yourselves a good doctor, kids. You might have to pay more (I’m still wincing a little), but it is so worth it.

And the STFU Award goes to…

March 17, 2008

I really didn’t intend to write this post, but there are a few things I can’t get out of my brain. See, over at Shapely Prose there’s a post about pamphlets being given to 9- and 10-year-old girls in “health” class. The pamphlet directs these girls to this ridiculous article, the alternate title of which should really be “Eating Disorders in Nine Absurd Steps.” This is a site run by Tampax, y’all; ponder the weirdness of the leading producer of sanitary supplies giving out advice that could lead to the delay or cessation of menstrual periods.

I have many, many things to say about this article. I might address them all here or I might spare you guys a 5,000-word post and just write about the thing that I’m finding most irksome: that stupid advice about writing down every single thing you eat:

2.Write down everything you eat. Icky, we know, but we also know there’s no better substitute (except looking at yourself in the mirror naked), that’s better than tracking what goes into your mouth to get you into the habit of thinking before you eat.

I don’t know why this little nugget of wisdom is so persistent, but I do know that I am fucking sick of it. As advice for rapidly growing girls on the cusp of puberty, I find it disingenuous at best and incredibly harmful at worst. As an adult with a brain and most of her food issues behind her, I find it really offensive. What’s the purpose of writing down everything you eat? Oh, right — to scare yourself into eating less. Okay, Tampax, I’ll give it a whirl.

Today I had a dark chocolate peppermint mocha frappuccino and two smallish homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast, four Keebler Grasshopper cookies a couple of hours later, and a big Romaine/spinach/avocado/tomato salad with Caesar vinaigrette. I’ve had two Diet Cokes, a bottle of water, and a big iced tea. I’m going to have corned beef and roasted potatoes for dinner, and I’ll probably have a ginger snap or two afterward. It’s likely that I’ll eat a bag of microwave popcorn sometime around midnight, and I’ll probably have more water, Diet Coke, and tea — I like to have a steady stream of hydration and caffeine at all times.

What do I notice here? The first thing I notice is that this all looks like a lot more food when written down than it was when I ate it. I notice sugar, fat, carbs! I notice multiple between-meal snacks! OMG I’M EATING TOO MUCH. What I don’t notice is that my caloric intake so far is about 900 calories and that I’ll probably round out nicely at about 1700 calories after dinner and my bedtime snack. I don’t notice that I’ve eaten healthy fats, lots and lots of vitamins and antioxidants, a good amount of fiber, energy-providing sugar, and some tasty protein. The list doesn’t show how satisfied and energetic I feel, the great condition of my skin and hair, or my healthy teeth. The list doesn’t show my formidable biceps, my strong legs, or my quicksilver brain.

I can look over that list and see a gazillion places where I could cut back tomorrow. I could downsize my frappuccino to a black coffee, eat only one tiny cinnamon roll, eliminate the cookies, and leave the avocado and dressing off my salad. I could grill a skinless chicken breast for dinner and eat it with more (plain) salad, eat only one cup of (dry) popcorn, and go to bed feeling… what? Hungry, unsatisfied, paranoid, and obsessed. Who wants to bet that I’d wake up still hungry, still paranoid, still obsessed, and oh yeah — still fat? After a few days of this I could be all of that and exhausted, sallow, lank-haired, dull-witted, and crabby. After a few weeks of this particular hell, I might be a couple of pounds lighter.

The list doesn’t take into account my body’s needs. The reality is that even if I do nothing more vigorous than lying in bed 24 hours a day, my body needs about 1600 calories just to function. The list doesn’t show what I’m using all that food for — even on the injured list, I’m pretty active. I play with Connor; we go for rambling walks around the neighborhood, race about the yard, and wrestle around the living room. I go about my daily routine, which includes pretty vigorous cleaning, lifting, dashing to and fro, and sex. I exercise on purpose: Pilates, running, and jumping rope when I’m well, but even with a sprained ankle I still do Pilates and a lot of walking. I use my brain all day, every day, for writing and joking and organizing and planning. None of these things would be possible were I to deny my body what it needs.

So how do I know what my body needs? It tells me, that’s how. I get tired and thirsty when I’m not properly hydrated. I get hungry when I don’t eat often enough. I get dizzy when my blood sugar is low. I crave nice big salads for lunch when I haven’t been getting enough iron or folic acid, and avocados sound really good when I need some good old-fashioned fat. Tender, juicy steaks make me salivate when I need protein. Ice-cold milk sounds delicious when I’m low on calcium. Do you see a trend here?

I eat what I want when I want it. This despite the fact that I’m a) not growing anymore, b) several years past puberty, and c) overweight. The end result is that I am healthy, capable, strong, alert, satisfied, and productive — fat or no fat. Now, can you imagine telling a growing child who is on the cusp of puberty that she shouldn’t eat what her body says it needs? That, in effect, she shouldn’t be aiming for that same end result? Can you imagine being that young girl and having your teacher advocate this scare tactic? What a message to send — that the end goal of eating, for young girls, should be to not eat.

You know what, Tampax? You fail. I wrote down everything I ate and I’m still not scared enough to starve.

The rest of that article is just as bad; the very first piece of “advice” given to these girls is that when they get hungry, they should force themselves to wait at least thirty minutes before eating. If you get the chance, please hop on over there and send the writers a huge STFU.