Life thru the haze of cat hair.

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As I was thinking about this post, it sounded somewhat familiar to me. I may have written something like this before; I don’t know. I started looking back through old posts, but whatever. If you’ve seen this before, feel free to move along.

*****

I think the time has finally come to face reality.

The Gas ‘n Sip has won. I have lost.

They have won the war. They have successfully beaten me down to the breaking point, and beyond.

I’m officially waving the white flag, crying “Uncle” and I’m ready to sign peace treaties.

I just cannot do this. Anymore.

If you know me at all, you know that I like to laugh – even while at work. I think it’s important to have fun at what you are doing. But at the same time, I would describe myself as being incredibly conscientious and motivated to do a good job. I *want* things to go well. I *want* projects to succeed. If I’m researching a new Slurpee flavor, I want to make sure that what I provide reflects the care and thought that went in to making that available. I get extraordinarily frustrated when others don’t have the same drive. Or when, just before I put up the “New Flavor” sign, they throw in some sort of curve ball to change, delay, or otherwise screw up what I have worked so hard on.

I will fight and stand up for my opinions, but at some point it’s better to just agree.

Before I went on vacation, I was a colossal bitch. I know I was. And I was looking forward to the week off to sort of smooth some ruffled feathers and come back ready to go.

And then I came back.

Within 4 hours of my return? I had cried twice.

The Zen place I had been when I walked through the door? Gone.

The knots in my shoulders were back. My upset stomach was back. My exhaustion and all around ill-humor were both back.

In the week I was gone, my new Slurpee flavor project fell apart. The players had changed. The focus had changed. And once again, every conversation became a battle. Instead of working together to resolve, there was a huge amount of time spent on finger-pointing. Blaming. There may as well have been hair-pulling. It was just that bad. Something I submitted *3 WEEKS AGO* to make the new flavor a particular shade of red WAS STILL SITTING THERE, and yet somehow, it is my fault that the request is not done yet.

And while there is some benefit on looking back to what we could have done differently, addressing the problem at hand and moving past it seems to me to be a better course of action. I’m just spit-balling here, so who knows.

So this morning, after yet another round of “You suck. You screwed up. We can’t release this on time because you did/didn’t/should have/shouldn’t have…”, I am officially, but not irreparably, broken.

I’m 45 years old (tomorrow). (Yes, happy birthday to ME!) ūüôā

I cannot work another 20+ years in this state of mind. I just cannot do it.

With that in mind, and to quote Mike Dooley, thoughts become things. I am going to put my request out to the Universe right here and invite the Universe to help. me. out.

I want a new career.

I want it to be creative, and fun, and growth-oriented, and educational, and altruistic, and generally just ADD to the world around me. I want to read books, and enjoy the sunshine, and be encouraged to take my vacation days. I want to make money that appropriately takes in to account my education, my work ethic, and my skills. I want to work with people who are encouraging and interesting and who challenge me to be a better person. I want to be able to challenge others to be better people too. I want to work with people who can learn from each other and who all want the same end result.

I would love to be a professional organizer – but not one of those people who tackle hoarders. I couldn’t do that. *shudder*

I would love to be an editor. Or a proofreader. Or a book reviewer.

I would love to be an event planner. Or a personal shopper. Or a writer. Or a painter. Or a professional sit-on-the-beach-and-count-grains-of-sand-er.

I want to look forward to my day and my projects and not look at the clock and think “Oh, dear goat. It’s only noon?!?!” I want to get up in the morning with the joyful anticipation of what I can bring to the table and put out into the world. And I want to go to bed each night thinking about all that I have done that day and all that I *get* to do tomorrow. (Not that I *have* to do. Big difference.)

I want to work in a place where a budget needs to be filled out once, not in 3 different place. Where status updates are given once, not 5+ times. Where EVERY. SINGLE. DECISION. does not require 5+ conference calls to make. Meetings at a table in a coffee shop? Sure!

So, Universe, what do you say? I know that there are jobs out there that fit my criteria. I know there are. If you want me to move to another state or country? I’m in. If you want me to sell my beautiful little doll house? I’ll do it. If you want me to look in certain areas? Send me a sign.

I’m ready to do this. And to do it in a big, big way.

(Also? If anyone reading this knows of something that might kinda sorta fit the bill? Let me know. It just means the Universe was waiting for me to say this out loud, so to speak.)

I don’t want to be broken any more.


So, I had mentioned that I would keep you updated with my training for the Tri. Yeah, I suck. I’ll do it now.

So much has been going on.

First up, I am down to 138 days before the event. OhEmGee!

My plan for training was that I would start with running training, since that is my weakest “event”. Then when the weather gets warmer, I will add in biking to work. And then around June or so, I would start with swimming. In a previous life, I was a competitive swimmer, so I’m not too worried about the swimming portion.

Right after I signed up, I started on a Couch-to-5k program. There’s an app for that. I thought that would be a good way to ease in. Week 1, you run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds, 8 times, with a 5 minute warm-up and cool-down. And each week you add in a little more running and a little less walking. Granted, my running speed, according to charts I’ve seen, qualifies as a “brisk walk”, but so what. I’m doing it.¬† So far so good.

I am prone to plantar fasciitis, so in order to prevent injuries, a friend took me to a running store where I got myself professionally fitted running shoes. They make my feet look big and clunky, but they have good stability in the heels. While I was there, I also signed up for their running club because they offer coaching on tri-training. Cool. I’m in.

I made it through 2 1/2 weeks of the C25K training.

And then, my knee started getting wonky.

I think I have water on the knee. It’s all swollen in places that aren’t normal. So I bought a knee brace. It helped, but wasn’t great.

My sister found out from my mother that I had signed up for the Tri. She offered me her membership to the Y so that I could swim. I know, right? How cool was that?? The caveat was that I had to take my niece with me sometimes. It will help her with her swimming.

So, in order to give my knee a break, I went swimming. Remember how I said I used to swim competitively? Yeah. Clearly, that was a LONG time ago. Swimming is hard! *heheh* It will still be the easiest portion of the race for me, but it won’t be easy. And considering, I will have to wait until July to do any actual ocean swimming – due to the fact that even then, the ocean temperature will be around 60 degrees – it will be a challenge.

Also, I started on the stationary bike. Clearly easier than riding on the actual street, but again, I felt I needed to give the knee a rest.

I gave my knee about 2 weeks to not take the pounding and tried the running again. I did okay with it. Still not 100%, but I’ll take what I can get.

And while all this was going on, I had a little break down. My happy pills were not working. I cried all the time. I knew that I was a failure because I couldn’t run as well as everyone else. Just add this to the list of everything I have failed at. And on and on. It was really pathetic. My mother finally called me on it and told me to call the doctor to get them adjusted. I called, and I cried while making the appointment. The doctor came into the exam room and I burst into tears. Nice.

We adjusted things and I seem to be getting back on track. Even someone at work told me that my Chi was low the other day. So clearly others have noticed. I’d like to think it’s a function of my jarring something loose with the exercise but I know it’s a sign that I’m a little bit crazy.

Anyhoo. When I signed up for the running club, evidently my name was entered into a lottery to get a registration for a 10k in August. The race is a pretty big deal around here – we get runners from all over the world participating and the 6,000 registration slots usually fill up in about 30 minutes. Personally, I have absolutely NO desire to run a 10k. So I’m going to find out if I can give my slot to someone at work.

I start running training with the running club tonight. I’m hoping that some seasoned runners will give me some help with my form to help with my knee issues.

Last night, I did my first-ever spin class. Holy goat, that was hard!! I haven’t sweat that much in a long long¬†time. There were some hate-vibes aimed at the leader during the class. But by the end, I was thinking, yeah. I’ll do this again. My lady-bits are a little sore today, though. And the standing hills we did on the bike wonked my knee. So, back to the ice and ibuprofen. It gets easier, right?

So that’s the long long (very long) version of what I’ve been up to. I am doing things that I’ve never done before. I’m more willing to try things. I’ve been swimming a bunch of times and biking. And running. Who knew a card-carrying couch potato could do this?

I’m pretty proud of myself. And I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can do. And I’ll do better with updating this. A few people at work have been inspired by my story, and have started some form of exercise as a result. That gives me a warm, yummy feeling.

Okay. Enough now. I have to go ice my knee.

UPDATED: I forgot to mention that I really was fated to participate in this event. There are 1,100 registrations available for it, and those filled up in 4 1/2 minutes. Four. And. A. Half. Minutes.¬† I registered on my phone, while at a swim meet. What are the chances that I got in?? I’m still astounded.


177 days.

That’s how long I have until my life is formally changed forever.

Over-dramatic? Maybe.

But if you know me at all, you know that I tend to freak at new things.

Last year, in the midst of posting all the drivel just to say I posted something, I alluded to the idea that I wanted to sign up for a mini-triathlon in this area. I said that, but in the back of my mind I was thinking, “Pfft. AS IF that will happen.”

The mini-triathlon is called Tri-For-A-Cure and it’s an all women’s triathlon with all the money going to help breast cancer research. The events themselves are a 1/3 mile ocean¬†swim, 12 mile bike, and 5k run.

Back at the time I said it, research told me that the event is REALLY popular and registration fills up almost immediately. YES! I had an out, if I needed it. “Gee, I *tried* to register, but it was full. I couldn’t.” Followed by much relief and batting of eyelashes.

However.

The Universe called my bluff. Registration opened last night at 6:30. I was at my niece’s swim meet, sweating my butt off in a humid pool area, and thought, “Okay. You have to at LEAST make the attempt in order to say you couldn’t register. You don’t have a computer, but you have your phone.”

So there I am, trying to watch my niece, watching the clock, trying to register on my phone.

I hit send, thinking, “Be full. Be full. Be full.”

“You have new email.”

“Congratulations! You have successfully regis….”

CRAP!

I swear I heard the Universe chuckling. It is getting the last laugh. I have the confirmation and I am officially committed to doing this thing. I have spent the last 12 hours alternately excited, freaked, scared, hyperventilating, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

One of my favorite things is the Notes from the Universe that I get sent to me via email every morning. The motto is “thoughts become things”. Well, I just received confirmation that THAT is true!

NEVER EVER challenge the Universe. It will push you into new and exciting things.

So, now, I need to ask for your support and encouragement. If you would like to contribute financially to breast cancer research, you can pledge at: http://tfac2011.kintera.org/mhemphill

This pledge *might* be able to be applied as a charitable contribution on this years taxes. I’m not an accountant though, so don’t hold me to that.
If you can’t contribute financially, just your love and encouragement will be more than enough. Truly.

I’ll be posting updates here on how my training is going. I have 177 days until the event. (Yes, I counted.)

So, I guess the only thing left to say is…. where do I get a wetsuit?


Oh, hello! Come in. Have some tea. And I finally filled the candy dish again, so have at it.

I’m pretty sure that I have stated on here before that I SUCK at managing money. (I would go back and put a link to a previous post, but I’m too lazy. So, you can either look back, or just take my word for it. I suck.)

I have a few theories as to why it is that I suck at it so much, but I won’t go into those here. Suffice it to say, if I have cash in my wallet (or tossed in the bottom of the suitcase I call a purse), I will spend it. On what? It doesn’t matter. Anything. Everything. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what 2 days later. It’s really pathetic.

About a year ago, I cut up my credit cards. It was traumatic and scary and hard and horrible and the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. (I still had balances, mind, but at least I could no longer ADD to those balances. Just go with it.) Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would. But I would keep one card. Because it is really hard to live in this world with no plastic.

What that little exercise in self-control has taught me is that if I don’t have the $ in my checking account, I can’t buy it. Whatever “it” is – food, entertainment, whatever. I am not always successful at sticking to that rule, and the amount of money I have actually given to my bank in the form of overdraft fees is staggering, but I am learning and getting better at it as I go.

So, why this story of woe on a Friday morning? Well, last week, I think it was Wednesday,¬†I discovered that, yet again, I was overdrawn. And I had $1 in my wallet. Literally, one dollar. Oh. My. Goat. What was I going to do?? I couldn’t buy a coffee, or lunch, or stamps, or groceries. I had 10 days before I got paid again. Have I mentioned how much I suck at money? S.U.C.K.

With no choice, I had to eat whatever I had in the cupboard/fridge/freezer. I had to resort to the free coffee at work (with that powdered creamer crap) (which, BTW, GROSS) or nothing at all. There were no snacks, no nips to the cafe downstairs for a muffin or scone or salad. So much for my new goal of eating more healthful foods and cutting down on carbs and starches. I lived with a hunger headache and a rumbly tum. I dug deep into the bottom of my suitcase purse for spare change for an emergency Hershey bar yesterday.

But I made it. Today, I was able to walk into the grocery store across the street to get something for breakfast and know that I had the cash to pay for it. It was exciting. But, do you know what? I didn’t want most of it. I had a new perspective on the overwhelming number of options. I still have to go grocery shopping tonight, to stock up on food, and to replenish my larder, but I think my choices will be much more carefully made.

There were some good things to come out of this inadvertent experiment:

  • I was finally able to clear out all the stuff in my freezer/cupboards that I had purchased, but didn’t feel like eating. You know the stuff. Pasta, rice, popcorn, whatever leftovers you may have frozen to “have later”.¬† CLEAN START!
  • I lost 9 pounds. That, right there, should tell you something. Clearly, I was eating too much.
  • I learned that I really didn’t have to eat if I was bored/sad/depressed/stressed/happy. I could really only eat 3 meals a day. No snacking. And? I DIDN’T DIE. I didn’t (couldn’t) use food to mask those feelings. I ate when I was really hungry (read: dizzy and headachey), and that was it.
  • I learned that I didn’t need to eat so much. I had to eat smaller portions in order to make the food last longer.
  • I learned that powdered coffee creamer? Just as gross as I remembered.
  • I learned that I don’t *have* to have dessert. But I just wanna.
  • I learned that I really can live, and do it maybe not well, but sufficiently, without spending every last cent. It’s okay to NOT go to the drug store and buy magazines or whatever. Or to turn on the Kindle and download the 36 books that I have seen recommended lately that I now want to read. I can read the books I already have (that I haven’t read before) and discover “Oh, yeah! That’s why I bought that!”
  • Oh, yeah, and I’m all set with carbs and starches for a while. Thanks.

So, I know this post started out about money and ended up about food. But, I found that the lack of one really impacts the other. This past 10 days has been hard and while I wouldn’t recommend anyone letting themselves get into the position I did, I would recommend trying to not spend money for a week on those little things that seem to so easily add up. And also, go through your stores of prepackaged foodstuffs and use that stuff up. Start over without all that stuff that really isn’t good for you. Maybe it would be better to just toss it, or to just NOT buy it in the first place, but you know what I mean.

And that cup of Chibani yogurt this morning? SO. FREAKING. GOOD!!!!! (If you haven’t tried this stuff? Holy crap. The best Greek yogurt out there, IMO. Seriously.) And it filled me up. I never thought I could be satisfied with just a yogurt, but I am. (If someone put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of my, I wouldn’t say no, mind. But I’m comfortable with just the yogurt for now.) This may be the start of something big for me. *fingers crossed*

Oh, and that dollar in my wallet? Yep. I still have it.


Oh, hello!! Come in and have some seltzer and Greek yogurt.

This post is about what happened later in the day last Thursday. It’s big for me.

So, a while back, the exquisite Debra wrote this post. What does that have to do with me, you wonder? Well, Miss Debra and I are very similar in that we are hermits, love books, and are less than experts at meeting new people. (Debra is FAR nicer than I am, but that’s another post…)

Inspired by my friend, I researched things in *my* area to meet new people and maybe make new friends. I found two groups that interested me. One was a group of women who get together for dinner or hiking or whatever. The other group is co-ed and meet for the same reasons. The co-ed group is NOT a dating group. But I signed up for both thinking that the women’s group would be a good way to get started, with no pressure to date any one. Then, maybe as I get more comfortable, I can do the co-ed group.

It must have been destiny all around, because the first meet-up of the women’s group that I saw was for dinner out at a sushi place. I heart sushi! So, I RSVP’d¬†for the dinner and made the K2Kid¬†RSVP with me. Because OF COURSE I couldn’t go alone. *eye roll* She was going to be my security blanket, just in case these women were horrible.

By Thursday afternoon, I was so tired from the volunteering that I wanted nothing more than to just go home and chill. But… I knew this was a good thing for me to do. I sent K2Kid a text to see if she was still going with me. She bailed. But 1) she had a good excuse; and 2) it was like the mama kicking the baby out of the nest. I had to do this on my own.

At dinner, there were 6 strangers. There was a real-estate agent, a nurse, a hairdresser, a fitness instructor, an executive recruiter, and … dang. I can’t think of what the last lady did. We ate. We talked. We laughed. We told stories. And we tried to decide what a good next meet-up would be.

And, do you know what? I didn’t die. I didn’t melt. I didn’t sit in my house, by myself, thinking that I *ought* to have been doing something. I am so glad that I did it. And while it may not be a big deal for many people, it was a huge deal for me, and I am so proud of myself.

The best part? I’m looking forward to doing it again. YAY ME!


Oh, hello! Come in and have a sandwich.

I was raised a Catholic. But this is not a post about religion. I don’t like to talk about religion with people. It’s too squishy a topic. Too much chance for people to get really pissy and offended.

So, Lent starts tomorrow. Or as they say in the church “The Season of Lent”. It always starts on the Wednesday after Mardi Gras, the Wednesday also known as Ash Wednesday. Now, being raised in the Catholic church, having gone through all the sacraments, years of Catechism, one would think that I would have some idea as to what the meaning of Lent is. But sadly, no. I know it’s something important, but I’ve got nothing.

Anyhoo. Growing up, we always had to “give up” something for Lent. I think it was a way to sacrifice and an attempt to make life better. Basically, we always gave up candy. I remember having a shoebox, into which went every piece of candy and gum I got for the next 40 days. “The Season” ended on Easter Sunday with a candy gorge. So not the point, I know,¬†but that’s what happened.

Then in college, I absolutely lived on Tab and Reese’s. (Yes, Tab. Don’t judge. It’s awesome!) So that year, I gave up soda. Tab, Diet Coke, everything. Nothing fizzy. At Easter, the sister gave me a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke. It was so GROSS!! (Try that experiment – go several weeks without soda, then have some. You’ll be off soda.)

A couple of years ago, I gave up drinking. (I KNOW!) For the most part, it wasn’t difficult. Except at hockey games. I love a beer at the games. That part sucked, but I made it through the 40 days with no problem.

This year, Herb and I are going to give up drinking, EXCEPT at hockey games. No hard alcohol. No wine. No beer. Easy peasy. But I am also going to give up chips. Well, salty snacks – chips, Cheetos, etc. It seems to be a weakness, so as a way to improve my health, I want to add to the “this is what I’m giving up” list. It should be interesting while I’m PMSing, but it’s only 40 days. Right? RIGHT?

At this point, for me, Lent has nothing to do with religion. It’s sort of like New Year’s day – it’s a way to jumpstart a self-improvement¬†plan and get remotivated. Any excuse to start over, right? Rewrite the path you are on.

Wish me luck.


Oh, hello! Have a muffin. I think they are lemon poppyseed – my favorite!

So, evidently, at the end of last year (aka a week ago) I contacted my friend Moo and said – Yeah, I’m fat. I’m sick of being fat. I’m going to work out. Will you help me?¬† And she said – Hellz¬†yeah. And then kept the email. Damnit! It’s in writing now so I can’t get out of it.

After much whining and denial, I dug the Wii board¬†out from under the couch, found the remote and nunchuk, and popped in the EA Active disk. I am LOVING it. I really like the Wii Fit games and the little Mii¬†– although I could do without the voice asking me if I’ve been too busy to work out, or if I tend to fall a lot as I walk, and groaning “OH!” as I step on the board. *stinkeye* I could also do without the computer puffing up my Mii¬†to remind me that I am “Rubenesque”. I know I am. But the games are fun.

With the Active disk, I actually get a series of exercises that include running (in place), strength training, balance, and a variety. Before I know it, I’m through all my exercises and done for the day. I’m starting at the easiest level, and it takes only 25-30 minutes to do all of them, but I’m starting. That’s the best part. Baby steps, right?

Yes, I did this as part of the New Year’s intention that everyone makes – get skinny. That would be nice, but my goal is to be healthier than I was in 2009 and to not get winded on stairs. (Don’t judge me.) I deserve to be healthy and to take care of myself. If I don’t do it, who will?

Somewhat related, but not, is that the new season of Biggest Loser starts tonight. Don’t worry, I won’t be blogging about this season. I am pretty sure no one read it anyway. And Potes, over at televisionwithoutpity.com does a GREAT job of recapping the episodes. She is laugh-out-loud funny – for real. So I’ll just be watching along with the rest of you to see if the dude over 500 pounds can get under 300; or if the couple who, together, weigh almost 1000 pounds can make it through a workout without dying. I hope so.

Anyhoo, I’m back to Wii-ing, and am pretty pleased with myself. Maybe I’ll do it every day and blog about it, then they can make a dull movie about it, with someone fabulous playing the “before” me and someone MORE fabulous (i.e. ME) playing the “after” me.

Healthy again in 2010.

I’ll keep you posted.