Archive for the ‘Quirks’ Category

Trifecta

September 29, 2012

My grandmother used to portend that bad things happened in threes, which was all my anxiety-prone mind needed to commence fretting when something unfavorable arose. Despite this, when what turned out to be the first of 3 bad things happened to me recently, it didn’t even occur to me to worry that 2 more awful things were to follow.

I

A few weeks ago, I was heading home at lunch to take Abby out since I had to teach in the evening and wouldn’t be home until late. I was following a curve in the road when I saw a 4 x 4 barreling toward me. The driver, who was yakking on his cell phone when he hit me, later told me that the look on my face was one of abject horror, probably because I couldn’t believe I was getting into another car accident. This one, however, was decidedly not my fault. He plowed into the driver’s side of The Goose, ripping the side mirror off, tearing up the doors, and shattering the windows. “I just couldn’t stop,” he offered in disbelief. It had just started raining so he might’ve hydroplaned but I more suspect inexperience was the culprit; he’s very young and this was his first accident. On the scene, he told the police he had insurance. My car wasn’t drivable so he gave me a ride back to my office, as he happened to work nearby. During the short drive, he apologized several times and told me he’d been listening to Christian music at the time of the accident. It’s possible he was trying to butter me up but I thought he was being sincere. We exchanged phone numbers and I assured him that the most important thing was that no one was hurt. It didn’t take long for my insurance to uncover the icky truth – that he was uninsured. That meant my insurance would cover me and then go after him. Unfortunately, the cost of the repairs was enough that they opted to make my vehicle a total loss and give me its value. They compensated me well but finding a new-to-me car in good condition when I only had a paid-for rental car for 5 days seemed impossible. Plus I love The Goose and was not ready to give her up. *sad commiserative honk* 😦

II

I’ve been concerned about my Dad for some time. He’s bi-polar and has always struggled to keep his medicines regulated. I hadn’t actually seen him face-to-face for several years, not on purpose but because things kept coming up that made visiting difficult. But my brother and I could tell from talking to him on the phone that he was in bad shape and rapidly deteriorating. We tried intervening from afar but it was clear he needed an on-scene advocate so he flew to Indianapolis. I was wholly unprepared for the terrible state he was in when he arrived. I’ve never seen him in such awful condition and I’ve seen him in a number of bad states. He was a mere whisper of himself – a complete wreck. Ultimately, he had to be hospitalized for several weeks, which was scary and difficult but absolutely the right thing to do. I visited him almost every day before realizing how heavily it was weighing on my own mental health. It’s so sad to see someone go downhill and feel totally helpless. Thankfully he’s doing better but can no longer live by himself so it’s up to my brother and I to arrange assisted living, sell his apartment, make sure he’s being well taken care of, and OH, not have a nervous breakdown during the process. Overwhelmed doesn’t even being to describe how I feel. Double 😦 😦

III

Because I know better than to prove my grandmother wrong, I fell in my office, tripping over nothing but falling summarily on my knee and turning my ankle. Other than searing mortification, I didn’t feel much right away but a few days later, had terrible pain & swelling in my shin. I could barely put any weight on that leg so I went to the doctor. Luckily nothing is broken; my doctor thinks I tore a ligament. For my exercise for the last few months, I’d been swimming 2 days/week and walking 3 days/week so I was really nervous about this injury derailing my momentum, which caused me to spiral into panic that I would gain back a ton of weight (160 pounds lost at last check!!) and die alone, with rabid, feral dogs feasting on my bloated corpse. I was determined not to let that happen so I kept exercising but was in a ton of pain, even swimming laps, forcing me to relent. I’m in the midst of a week off, which seems to be helping but it’s clearly going to take several weeks to heal. This injury has highlighted a bizarre fear I have when I’m in the midst of any ailment, physical or mental – I’m seized by the awful thought that I’ll never be well again. I know it’s not rational but it sure is a bitch to counteract!

So there you have it – my triumvirate of suck. I’m in full-on one-day-at-a-time mode and trying to take good care of myself in the meantime. In the past, I would’ve just used food to deal with my feelings about all of this but I’m hellbent on keeping that nonsense at bay. That means using all the tools I’ve learned about over the last few years – therapy, support groups, exercise, journaling, meditating, mindfulness, and reaching out, to name a few. It’s really putting me to the test so I sure would appreciate some positive vibes directed my way.

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Morning FAIL

July 18, 2012

When I teach in the evening, I have to get to my day job by 8 a.m. so I can leave at 4:30 p.m. and get to campus by 5 p.m. Other days, I come in around 9 a.m. Even though that’s only an hour difference, it’s like night and day for my anti-morning body clock. Throughout my life, I’ve tried to turn myself into a morning person. I enjoy accomplishing a lot early in the day but inevitably, my stubborn mind & body don’t conform easily to that rhythm so waking up early is always difficult for me. I often feel anxious and exhausted and oogy.

This week happened to be a perfect storm in my schedule, since I had to be in the classroom Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings. All day Sunday, I kept thinking about how I needed to be up early Monday morning so I should go to bed early and get plenty of solid rest. Naturally I slept like shit and woke up a lot, topped off with the most bizarre dreams. In 1 dream, a mean girl from high school snarked at me that when people lose weight, it makes them look short. (Oh mysterious psyche, you never fail to entertain!) In another dream, I met Kanye West at this beautiful, verdant cliff in Portland (which I’ve never been to.) He was working on an album in an amazing modern, glass-windowed building. I’m sad to report that he was on my mind because of his cameo on Keeping Up With the Kardashians the night before. (Don’t judge me!) Needless to say, when I finally woke up Monday morning, I felt like I’d been run over by a cement truck. Fortunately, I made it through my 3 hell days and my schedule will now be more reasonable.

Remember when the Goose was being repaired? When I got it back, I found all of my belongings in it except for my pool sandals. I keep them in my car and because of my neurosis about walking barefoot in locker rooms, wear them pretty much every second I’m at the gym and not in the actual pool. I can’t imagine anyone would steal something so insignificant but I have looked all over and cannot find them. (Naturally I immediately replaced them with sterile neoprene boots.) Where are you, sandals? Come home, Mama misses you!

Keepin’ It Real: Melasma

June 29, 2012

In the interest of being forthright about my trials & tribs, I’m about to show you a very unflattering photo* of me:

Melasma

See those dark spots on my forehead and upper-lip? Yeah. That’s Melasma. It’s a hormonal skin condition that creates patches of hyper-pigmentation. It’s not lethal or anything but the way it looks has been really hard for me. As it is, I struggle with keeping my self-esteem up and now feel even more self-conscious. I went to a dermatologist this week for my yearly checkup and got some cream that may lighten the spots. I also replaced my over-the-counter Neutrogena sunscreen/moisturizer with some über-protection the derm recommended. Any sun exposure makes Melasma worse, which will put a serious damper on my pool time with Moxy. Fortunately, I just bought a big, floppy straw hat which I’m hoping will keep my face completely covered.

I know this is a very first-world problem and many people have much worse and more-serious issues to deal with but it’s been difficult for me nonetheless. My body is already changing like crazy since surgery and now my mug is too? Yikes!

This gives me the perfect opportunity to remember that my self-worth shouldn’t be tied to my physicality. I’ve fought that misconception my whole life (“My body isn’t perfect, therefore I am a loser!”) though, so it’s going to take a while to internalize the healthier ideal.

P.S. Google searches informed me that Brooke Burke has Melasma as well, which is just another item on the long list of things we have in common. 😉

*I took that pic right after I swam laps so I’ve got wet hair & goggle suction marks under my eyes but the light was just right for capturing my spots.

Rough Weekend

April 3, 2012

You know what’s annoying? How it seems like there are certain shirts I absolutely cannot wear more than once without spilling something on them. And it’s always a shirt I like a lot. Like for example, this green number:

Green Shirt

I just splattered butter chicken all over it!

P.S. That butter chicken recipe is soooo yum & easy-to-make. I used chicken tenders so I didn’t bother marinating them and I opted for curry instead of the spice combo the recipe suggests. It also freezes beautifully, if you don’t gobble it up first. 🙂

Post surgery, I’ve found that I crave spicier, umami-er foods than I did before. I only get a few bites so I prefer tasty ones! Also I’m mostly eating vegetables, as they seem to be what my body wants. For breakfast, I’m loving MorningStar’s Veggie Sausage links with mustard. That may sound revolting but it hits the spot.

Let’s refocus on what brought me here in the first place – my need to vent about a tough weekend. My Dad had to be hospitalized for the first time in several years. I cannot imagine how demoralizing that would be, so my heart aches for him, even though some of his behavior has been extremely frustrating and counter-productive. I’m so worried about his deteriorating mental health and feel overwhelmed and unprepared for how to best care for him from a distance. Adulthood = hard. 😦

After a particularly sad conversation with my dad, I came home to find poor Abby stuck, sprawled out on the kitchen floor. She’d apparently fallen and accidentally pushed away the mat I have in place to help her get traction. She’s fine on carpet but just flails and struggles on slicker surfaces. It was clear she’d been stuck awhile, which absolutely gutted me. I felt awful for not having come home earlier and for not thinking to move her kibble & water to a carpeted room. Even when I helped her get up, she could barely stand or move. I’m guessing with her arthritis, she was staved up and sore from being in such an uncomfortable position for several hours. *bawl* My poor senior girl! We took a looong, slow walk and by the end of it, she was getting around a little better. Once we got back, she plopped down at my feet, heaved a big ol’ sigh, and sawed logs until morning. In the days since then, we’ve taken lots of walks and she seems back to her usual self but I’m ever-more aware that our time is limited.

The next afternoon, I was headed to meet B for lunch when I realized I’d lost my keys. After searching high & low, I found them outside next to a fresh pile of some random dog’s poo. I’d apparently dropped them the night before when I was clearing up Abby’s deposit. What a weekend!

I’ve been spinning my wheels lately working on a blog pitch to chronicle my post-surgery life. (As of last check, I’ve lost 85 pounds!) I have Friday off so I’m hoping to stop being a perfectionist & stop beating up on myself for taking so long and finish the damn thing then. I’ll keep you posted about what happens & hopefully in the meantime will be back here soon. Oh and one more thing: if you have the same kind of crazy as I do & suffer with perfectionism, check out Amber Adrian’s awesome, normalizing, solution-oriented Recovering Perfectionist essays & consider signing up for her equally-awesome newsletter. Today’s edition was especially helpful. Let me know if you’d like me to forward it to you.

Bzzzzt

September 29, 2011

Felt rosette fall wreath
Felt rosette fall wreath I made, inspired by this

I took Abbs for a walk tonight and couldn’t get over how verdant the grass is. Our summer was so dry but it’s been raining constantly for weeks now. It’s nice to see a little green, even though it’s time for the leaves to turn. Another sign of fall is crazy bees. I battled 2 nutters today who did not understand that no means no. They’re like date rape bees! If I’m making sharp noises and waving my arms around, that doesn’t mean fly closer and invade my personal space. Nasty bees! I know they make honey & flowers pretty but they could do with a little sensitivity training from Mother Nature’s HR department.

A few weekends ago, B and I went to the symphony. B works with them so we got the perk of sitting in an area called The Terrace, which is an exclusive space right beside and above the orchestra. Killer seats, is what I’m saying:

View from The Terrace

I was fascinated with the up-close-and-personal view of all the instruments & players and thoughtfully studied each one. When I got to the French horns, I happened to catch one of the musicians emptying his spit valve…on the floor. This at once mesmerized and disgusted me and I was unable to focus on anything else for the remainder of the performance. I know some of what’s in there is condensation but there’s definitely some spit too. Can’t they at least use a cup? Or maybe a small hand towel on their lap? Something, anything other than casually dumping your DNA on the floor, which must be like some kind of CSI slip ‘n’ slide. I mentioned my concerns to B but he wasn’t compelled. Of course I am so, so grateful that I got to go and the performance was incredible but I can’t deny that I was preoccupied by the spit dumping spectacle. Should we form a task force to address the issue? It’s not just the French horns you know.

With that, it’s time for what I’m loving this Thursday. Have a good weekend and for God’s sake, carry a handkerchief! 😉

Delicious, talented Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was stellar in 50/50. (Listen to an interview with him & Will Reiser, who wrote 50/50, on a recent ep of Fresh Air.)
JGL

These festive papier-mâché jack o’lanterns:
Papier-Mâché Jack O'lanterns

This adorably curious chimp:
Chimp

This pretty, romantic fishtail braid:
Fishtail Braid

This 70s-inspired necklace Bleubird Vintage designed for ModCloth:
Bleubird Vintage for ModCloth Necklace

This clever chalkboard talk bubble DIY:
Chalkboard Talk Bubble DIY

And finally, this UH-MAY-ZING vintage Singer sewing table:
Vintage Singer Sewing Table

As If!

August 12, 2011

Tonight when I was taking Abby out, it occurred to me that my neighbors only ever see me lookin’ like a bit of a slob. That’s because as Cher wisely noted in Clueless, “My party clothes are so binding.” Growing up in my family, when we got home from our respective daily activities – work, school, etc – we would all immediately change into comfy, casual clothes. I do that to this day, usually throwing on a t-shirt and shorts. This is what I almost always sleep in, even in the winter. I think that comes from growing up in the south where it’s never very cold. If someone’s coming over, I keep my party clothes on but the minute they’re gone, change into comfy duds. If close friends or family come over, I might let them behold the glory of my house gear. But even if I wear jeans and a sweater to a party, I change when I get home. Maybe this means I’m picking ridiculously uncomfortable clothes but I suspect it’s just a habit. Since I’m such a klutz, at the very least it lowers the chance I’ll stain my nice clothes. Unfortunately I most often see my neighbors in the evenings when I’ve already changed. They probably think I’m a major slacker but let’s face it – they might not be all that impressed with what I wear out either. Do you change clothes when you get home or keep your party clothes on?

Here are the things I’m loving this Thursday:

This freebie printable that is definitely going in my craft room:
Hello Lover

This precious DIY puppet theatre for the littles:
Puppet Theatre

This colorful & yum-looking b-day treat (I made these red velvet whoopie pies for my birthday & they were a hit!):
Rainbow Cake

The 25th anniversary of this phenomenal movie (Check out NPR’s recent interview with Wil Wheaton – very moving!):
Stand by Me

This pretty hair-do:
Summertime Twist

This lovely journaling:
Art Journal

This UH-MAY-ZING satchel that I’ve been stalking for months:
Leather Satchel
(I love the yellow one too!)

This sweetie little kitty:
Kitty

What are you loving?

Eye One

April 26, 2011

Giveaway
Image via sfgirlbybay.com

Guess what? I won something! And not just any something but fabric! Frankly I never win anything so I rarely sign up for giveaways, but the Waverly fabric was too yummy to ignore so I left a comment saying I’d use it for kitchen curtains if I were a lucky winner. Later that week, I dug through my stash of fabric (which B beheld on Saturday and insinuated is excessive) and found some candidates for kitchen curtains, not thinking twice about the contest. But last week I found out I needn’t dip into my surpluses and the best part is the Waverly prints totally match my cookware. Yay for free things and matchy-matching!

I heard the 2011 Lollapalooza line-up today and briefly considered getting tickets. It sounds like it’s going to be incredible but I quickly remembered I’m old and curmudgeonly and probably wouldn’t enjoy the 3-day summer romp as much as I once did. The thought of trapsing around in the heat, fighting hipsters for a spot close to the stage, and standing in line for ludicrously-priced water makes me want to find out if I’m elligible for AARP yet. Instead I’ll listen to all the bands from the air conditioned confines of my home and think fondly on the times of yore.

I get alerts from LivingSocial.com about Groupon-like deals in Indy and occasionally see great discounts on massages. The thing is, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to relax and enjoy myself. I once had a massage at the French Lick Resort Spa when I was writing a story about them for a travel journalism class but I was too busy asking questions and making mental notes to really savor the experience. I get my hair cut at an Aveda salon that offers a free mini-massage with every hair cut but I always decline, feeling too embarrassed to partake. The thing is, Moxy gets massages and always talks about how wonderful they are so I know I’m missing out. I guess it’s the whole naked-save-a-flimsy-sheet thing that’s held me back but it’s not like anyone tries to inspect your bits so I think it’s time to build a bridge. Any ideas for overcoming my lily-liveredness that don’t involve tequila shots or sedatives?

Even In My Sleep

January 21, 2011

I woke myself up this morning trying to entertain people in my dreams with a George Costanza witticism but for the life of me, can’t remember which one. (You know you watch Seinfeld reruns a lot when…) It wasn’t one of my faves, which is in the episode when the gang can’t find Kramer’s car in a mall parking garage. Jerry says you should always carry a pen so you can write down where you’re parked and George says “I can’t carry a pen. I’m afraid I’ll puncture my scrotum.” HA!

I’ve been sewing a lot lately and have 2 iron burns to show for it. One of them is especially nasty and in a very conspicuous place on my arm. The problem stems from my tiny sewing/laundry/world domination planning room. It only has one electrical outlet and it’s not conveniently located. I’ve been too triflin’ to get an extension cord so I’d been keeping my iron at an odd angle, whereby I often brushed dangerously close to it, singeing my poor dermis TWICE before realizing something needed to be done. Juggling all my sewing and crafting paraphernalia in that tiny room is a constant battle, one I hope to win soon in an ultimate showdown. I’ve been avoiding it because it will involve going through all of my fabric and supplies, purging, and re-organizing, which won’t be a picnic given how much crafty stuff I’ve amassed. I sort of did that to a lesser extent when I moved into my current apartment but it’s time to dig deep and honestly confront my vice. I plan to take before, during, and after photos so stay tuned for many opportunities to mock me.

I had Monday off for MLK Day so I went on a shopping trip with some friends from Bloomington, one that we’d literally been planning, canceling, and rescheduling for years. In an irony that’s not lost on me, I bought more fabric while whining about my burn. I also found an air horn at a random dollar store. I thought it might be too good to be true, so I just bought one to test. It works perfectly and now I plan to buy hundreds more to use as inappropriately as possible. Get some earplugs, is what I’m saying, especially if I’m ever responsible for waking you up.

Happy New Year!

January 5, 2011

You know those bloggers who care for 2 beautiful kids, decorate their walls in lovely photos, exercise regularly, and still find time to churn out interesting blog posts every day? HOW DO THEY DO IT? It seems like it’s always feast or famine around here. My crushing perfectionism doesn’t help but I’ve made progress in not letting it hinder me. Still I struggle a lot with comparing myself to others. It’s a sickness really and sometimes I let it consume me. I have to be hyper-vigilant about reminding myself that my journey is just that – my own and the rate at which I’m progressing and reaching my goals may not be the same as others. (Moose’s recent post along these same lines made my heart smile.)

And speaking of baked goods, it’s been really difficult to avoid sugar this holiday season but I made it with a bit of white knuckling. The final challenge was at work last week when someone made a HUGE spread for a birthday party. There was a multi-layer chocolate cake rotten with delicious-looking icing and a huge blackberry cobbler. I had to refuse the sweets several times while being shot looks implying the terrorists are winning when I don’t eat cake. I ended up nibbling on crackers and jealously wondering how some people can breezily enjoy sugar in moderation.

Boy, this post is sounding sort of bitter and I didn’t mean for it to. It’s a new year after all and I have high hopes. Also I’ve been crafting up a storm lately, which I’m thoroughly enjoying. (You can see the fruits of my labor here.)

Felt wreath Shark Week Bag
Zipper Pouch Cooking with ♥ Mustaches

More goodies to come, including a new masthead and the 2010 MymBOs! (Take a peek at last year’s for a recap.)

For Sabbath

November 4, 2010

Day 4 of SchloMoBlowHole is the perfect time for me to own up to something → I fail at unpacking. In fact the luggage from my recent trip to Chicago is currently strewn across my bed, along with one lingering bag from my trip to MOwhich was back in September. It’s just seemed easier to select clothing from my luggage instead of the tremendously laborious task of transferring the clothes back to my closet. Such are the mysterious of the gelatinous blob that is my psyche.

Lean’s birthday was last week so I made her a special pressie. A few months ago, her dear sweet cat Sabbath died. He was the alpha of her then 4-kitty litter, a quiet but steadfast ruler with a level head and lustrous black fur. The loss was especially difficult because Sabbath was the first kitty she ever had the pleasure of serving. Our critters are very important to us so I wanted to make her something to remember him buy and tried my hand at some simple appliqué:

Gift for Lean

The E is crooked and I should’ve used darker thread on the cat but Lean loved my masterpiece’s “hand-did” aesthetic, which put a smile on my face. We miss you Sabbers!