Monthly Archives: January 2011

Love & Loathe — Week of 01/23

Loathe:

* Finding used band-aids at the bottom of the gym pool. I pulled this one out last night, as I have every night this week, because I refuse to swim with that in there with me. That gives me such an “ewwwww” feeling. So gross.

* Also, another gym pet peeve, people who leave their empty bottles/sample packets/trash in the shower stalls. Wads of hair in the shower drain are bad enough, but then leaving trash behind? Disgusting. Lazy. Rude.

* Slow races. Three cars across and no acceleration. Best to just hang back and let them figure it out, but I do find it quite maddening.

Love:

* Having my bosses back in the office. They’ve been traveling pretty extensively of late. Most people think it’s easier or quieter to have them gone, but it’s not. When they’re out, they’re often communicating in “Blackberry speak,” followed by chunks of time when they’re inaccessible. But mostly, I miss their energy and the in-person interaction.

* My attorney friend was finally able to resolve the HOA issue… yesterday. One day before the scheduled “special hearing.” Thank God for good friends in high places. Now the knot in my stomach can dissolve while I re-think my strategy for dealing with this type of conflict in the future. The vendor was actually in the wrong but, as with any situation, there are things I can cultivate and learn from this.

* All our pets are healthy again. My hospitalized fish will be going back in the big tank in a few days – when I’m ready. Snug had his follow-up visit for his teeth cleaning and it went well, everything looked good. This health thing is a HUGE thing.

* Squirrels in the snow.

One Last Thing:

I was going to write something deep and meaningful, but it’s been a long week filled with much thinking, deep thinking and tiresome thinking. So much, deep and tiresome, in fact, that last night while I was swimming laps I got to the part where I was kickboarding and I bumped the pause button on my stopwatch and didn’t realize it.

I was kickboarding away, checked my stopwatch and saw I was at 25 minutes and thought, “OK, 8 more minutes…” and then went back to my thoughts. I checked a few laps later and thought, “Huh… weird, I swear it said 25 minutes a few minutes ago…” A few more laps and I realized the back of my legs and abdominal muscles were becoming fatigued, checked the watch again and went, “Oh hell.” I realized then I must have gone about 20 minutes additional with the kickboard than I intended. Oopsie.

It’s OK, though, that just means more chocolate for me!

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Imagine Happiness.

I had arrived to the restaurant early. The wait staff was completing the setup for my girlfriend’s bridal shower brunch. We were all waiting in the foyer to be called to the party area, chatting softly amongst ourselves or just people watching.

A couple in their mid-thirties entered, spoke to the hostess and put their name on the list for a table. When they completed the task, the man reached out and gently stroked his wife’s hair away from her face, briefly massaged her neck, then caressed her back and his arm came to rest around her waist. She leaned into him and turned to smile at him. He was nondescript, average height, brownish hair, soft around the middle… just average. Nothing really stood out to me about him except the obvious love and tenderness he held for the woman who stood beside him.

She was not attractive. She was overweight, and her clothing was not intended to conceal or compliment her figure… a tight-fitting tank top, stretch jeans and flip-flops were her attire. Her hair was colored a harsh, unnatural black. Her arms were heavily tattooed and as she reached for his hand, I noticed that the soft inner skin of her arms, from her wrists all the way to her armpits, were covered with long-healed “cutting” scars.

In that moment, I wondered what her story was. She displayed those scars, and everything else I noticed about her, without any apparent self-consciousness. I admired her for her confidence to simply be herself in a world that judges appearances harshly. But I wondered what it had taken for her to get to that point.

Our group was called to be seated shortly after that, and throughout the breakfast brunch buffet and, later, the walk on the pier, I never saw that couple again.

That was 2 1/2 years ago, and I’m not even sure why, but that moment impacted me deeply… I was thinking about them again tonight. Pulling it out of my memory and examining it.

I like to imagine that she loved herself enough to allow his love help conquer whatever fears, anxieties and hurts caused her to cut herself. I like to think that he fell in love with her because she had a depth of personality that they could stay awake all night talking and never run out of things to say. I like to imagine that despite her visible imperfections, she was a perfect match to his heart and that they’re still together, happy and they go out to brunch every Saturday morning.

Imagine happiness. Imagine that.

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Filed under Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, We're all searching for something

Love & Loathe – Week of 01/16

Loathe:

* Tug’s attitude this week toward his cat, Snug. Snug had his teeth cleaned on Monday, so he went under anesthesia, spent the day at the vet’s office, and that night isolated for his safety. Now Tug is acting like he hates him, growling and hissing at him when he gets within eyesight. Poor Snuggy — he’s the one who should have been traumatized, not Tug. Speaking of irrational behavior, did you notice the full moon this week?

* Troubling or frustrating things that cause fear. We’re keeping it general this week.

Love:

* Grocery stores with bins. Bins with dried beans, bins with coffee beans, bins with different types of granola, bins with trail mix, bins with banana chips, bins with chocolate covered cranberries, bins with bulk items that I can buy as much or as little as I want. Bin heaven!

* Banana chips. Have I mentioned our current addiction to banana chips? It’s been going on for 2-3 months now, so it might be an addiction that’s gonna stay around for awhile.

* Snug snuggle time. Since Tug has been angry, bitter and abusive turning Snug away, Snug has been turning to me for love. Which I find to be very sweet, but also funny because the entire time Snug spends on my lap, Tug spends staring at him on my lap, growling. Jealous much?

* MLK week. Everyone was reminding me to remember MLK this week. I was sitting on the couch watching the Lakers game, glanced over to the other side of the screen to check the score, and there, big as an elephant, just above the score, was yet another reminder. So that night I went and bought some.

* Inspiration in the least expected places — like a traffic jam on the freeway today.

One Last Thing:

I had my first raw dairy convert this week. A lady at work was talking about how milk made her sick and she couldn’t have ice cream or any of that stuff. I asked her if she’d ever tried raw milk. She had no idea what I meant. So, I explained how the pasteurization process kills all the good bacteria that most people need for proper digestion of dairy. Something like 90% of people who think they’re lactose intolerant are actually “pasteurization process” intolerant. Milk straight from the cow, from a clean dairy, bypasses all that nonsense.

She expressed a strong interest in trying “real” milk but was afraid of it “not working” and then having to deal with the side effects. Oh, how well I understood (and remembered) that feeling from my sojourn into raw milk back in 2006.

We emailed back and forth a couple times, she was planning out her weekend to factor in any “downtime” and making the most of her possible malaise to annoy her husband. Ha!

As it happened, I was replenishing my inventory of raw milk, so I bought an extra jug and gave it to her. She tried it last night and emailed me this morning in absolute thankfulness. She’d daringly tried some last night and, to her surprise, she was miraculously OK! *happy sigh*

I love that my aunt encouraged me to try raw milk four years ago. I desperately love my raw milk. And I really, really love it when a small gift turns into a bigger blessing because of what it means to someone.

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Love & Loathe – Week of 01/09

Loathe:

* When pets become high maintenance… like my fish seem to have become lately. The time and emotional burden drains me, I feel as if my priorities are all screwed up. Which, in turn, is making me evaluate whether or not I want to continue keeping them. Tony is encouraging me to keep them, but try to emotionally distance myself a bit from them. He has a point and I handled it pretty well when the albino female died abruptly last week from the fungus. But there’s still the drain of my time and I’m not sure how to get around that.

* Excel sheet misery. Honestly, people, look at the thing in “print preview” mode before you send it to someone and FIX IT so it’s printable. It really grinds to have to reformat something with 2 minutes to spare before a meeting in which the sheet is to be used.

* Scary pedestrian intersections. There’s this intersection by my work where it’s impossible to see pedestrians during early afternoon hours. The sun is squarely in driver’s faces when attempting to turn left, and the corner where pedestrians step from is heavily shaded. I know now, but the first time when I learned it, I nearly hit someone in the crosswalk. I was horrified! Since then, I’ve seen several other drivers do the same thing, with closer calls than what happened to me. I wish there was a way to warn the pedestrians.

* People who go into a public restroom and continue to talk on their cell phones.

Love:

* Crock pot cooking. I love being able to throw a 3 or 4 pound hunk of meat in the thing, a few potatoes, some veggies, leave for the day, and when I get home the house smells great and dinner is ready. So easy! Best of all, the meat is always so moist, it nearly falls apart just from looking at it.

* Having wonderful friends. I sure don’t deserve the friends that I have, but then there’s no repaying the gift of grace, is there? Two things make me mention this.

First, the HOA situation I mentioned last week, which I let stress me out beyond reason? Well, one of my lawyer friends said he’ll make a call to see if he can settle the “misunderstanding” without it escalating further. HOA law is generally kind of scuzzy law, and is so far beneath the type of law he normally practices, I feel incredibly humbled that he cares enough about me to try to resolve it for me.

Second, you guys are so amazing. I don’t know why I even doubted sharing with you a portion of my struggles. Thank you for sharing back.

One Last Thing:

We just got back from the mountains. When we visited our friends at our favorite breakfast place, Tony mentioned that he’s on a diet. The cook, Charlie, looked at him and said in disbelief, “A diet?” In a tone of voice that clearly said, why the heck are you in MY restaurant if you’re on a diet? A place that’s known for their enormous pancakes.

We got our seats at the counter and were talking about various things, all the things you talk about in a small town, shooting the breeze I believe it’s called. We had our orders in and Charlie was talking and cooking, and he turned away from the grill to get something and Tony glanced over and said, “Hey. What is that?” Charlie replied, “Nothing. Nothing at all.” And resumed his position in front of the grill, blocking what Tony had seen.

A few minutes later, with a mischievous grin on his face, Charlie placed this in front of Tony, and the entire restaurant busted out laughing. I do believe this takes the record for the smallest breakfast ever served in that restaurant… one month after the record of the largest pancake ever served.

Charlie demonstrates the size of the last pancake he created for us.

The real breakfast, served a couple minutes after the laughter subsided…

We went into town after breakfast and visited our favorite candy store, where they handmake fudge and all kinds of concoctions in there. They always have “trial” candy, and this time they had dark chocolate covered cheerios. Oh, the bliss.

We also always visit the local KMart and I found a couple pairs of jeans in my size. I tried them on and the black jeans looked fine, I thought, but the other pair I didn’t care for and couldn’t figure out why. I normally don’t involve Tony in my clothes buying decisions, but I called him over for his opinion and asked him if the black jeans made my butt look big. I love asking him that, by the way. He shook his head and said, “No, it just looks like your butt.” There might have been a bit of a leer, too, but I can’t remember for certain.

I said, “OK, let me go try the other ones on and show you.” I went in the dressing room and did the switch, came out and showed him. He was shaking his head negatively and said, “No, I don’t like those at all on you. It’s the color of the border threading. It’s just all wrong.” Basically reinforced my decision, but gave me a valid reason for it.

Grateful for an honest husband, I just had to shake my head at how weird it is that jeans from the same manufacturer, the same same size and cut, the only difference being the color, can look so vastly different on the same body.

Although a bit sad that our “free” internet access up there has disappeared, I was grateful to spend the evening watching movies together, eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate.
The frozen lake…

It was … perfect. Exactly what we needed.

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Love & Loathe – 01/06/11 (Late)

Loathe:

* I’m at an age now where I feel as if conversations with my elders should start with, “Now they’re still alive, right?” For example, I sent a Christmas card to former neighbors of mine, of whom I am quite fond. They’re getting on in years, I know, but the letter I received in response from Mr. K sharing that his wife had passed on mid-2010 just made me so very sad. Something tells me this age thing isn’t going to get any better.

* Got a letter in the mail today from a real, live attorney who represents my HOA. Apparently, they felt the conversation I had with their painting vendor last month, wherein I expressed how upset I was about them screwing up my plants and stomping our Christmas decorations, was threatening. They want money to pay for a different vendor to paint our house. There’s so much that’s wrong with this, I don’t even know where to start, except it wasn’t a good ending to my Saturday.

* Knee high nylons that fall down. While I dislike getting to work and tugging my knee highs up, it does make me think of my Grandmas and I love thinking about my Grandmas, but I’m not sure I’m ready to follow in their footsteps quite this early in my life.

Love:

* My latest snack of banana chips and vanilla yogurt. The banana chips add an interesting crunch to the yogurt. There’s a way to make yogurt out of raw milk and I’m thinking that I may need to investigate doing so given the “distress” I’ve been having as a result of my foray in the pasteurized dairy products.

* Cuties. Whoever came up with the marketing ploy of fun, cute little stickers on the outside of Clementine oranges? Genius. Pure genius. Everyone wants a sticker for positive reinforcement, right? Well, I do.

* Our vet who saved Slasher. I took my two boys (Tug and Snug) in last night and she was soooooo good with them. Even though Tug was yowling and hissing and wiggling all around. I’m not thrilled that I need to spend extra $$ on Snug, who has inflamed gums and a bit of infection. So, he gets a dental cleaning under anesthesia. Ugh. All in all, though, it might be a good thing, because everyone knows dental problems are the gateway to a lot of other health problems. Since bacteria on the teeth, among other things, compromises the immune system, it also increases vulnerability to catching upper respiratory infections. Let’s hope it helps him.

* Four day work weeks, just finished the third 4-day work week in a row.

One Last Thing:

Sometimes it seems as if we’re all carrying such heavy loads every day. I know for me, it has certainly felt that way. I go a couple of days feeling as if I’ve just gotten a handle on it, and then something else happens and I’m left with a tottering load. I’m looking up at this big pile of concerns teeter-tottering over my head and, above it all, I’m not seeing the One who can truly help me carry it.

I know a lot of people are struggling with their relationship with God these days. I confess: I am, too. I also confess that even when I’m not struggling with my relationship with God, it’s difficult for me to give my concerns to God because I want to be in control.

It’s so hard for me to accept, that more often than not, there’s not one single thing I can do to change the outcome of situations. So I do all this work and research, trying to figure out a way to change things, and time goes by and absolutely nothing changes, except that I wasted a bunch of time researching and thinking about stuff. I wonder why I bother, why I even try at all. Which then, why don’t I give it to God in the first place? Is He really my last resort?

Lately, I find myself wondering why I even bother praying. It seems as if His answer to my prayers these days is always a big, fat “NO.” Which makes me ask myself how it is that all I’m praying for, the desires of my heart, are so misaligned with His will for me and my life.

I find myself searching for hope and joy, thankful for the love that’s in my life, but overall feeling confused, conflicted, overwhelmed and just tired of it all lately… and I’ll probably regret hitting the “publish” button right now. But here I go, being brave and baring my heart.

Please be gentle.

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Filed under I own a Home, Life Encompasses Me, Love/Loathe, Sometimes Thinking Exhausts Me, We're all searching for something

How It Came In.

A few months ago, the good Samaritan in the house (aka Tony) jumped his co-worker’s car for him. The guy, in an off-hand manner (everything this guy says sounds kind of off-hand, actually) told him, “Thanks, man, I owe you one.” And, as cool guys do, Tony said, “No problem.”

Fast forward to last Thursday, and I received a text message from Tony saying, “We have tickets to the Lakers game for New Years Eve.” My first thought was, “… and you’re taking me??? Yay!” My second thought was, “Are they real?” Ha! My thoughts are funny. Turns out, that was the guy’s way of paying back a favor. Which is how we ended up in Staples Center on New Years Eve, 7 rows up from the floor, center court, above the score tables.

Love the intense look on Kobe’s face. This was one second before he stole the ball, ran it down court and scored.

Pau Gasol is awesome. This series of pictures I took of him taking off his warm-up suit and running onto the court cracked me up… like he’s some supermodel or something, flinging his hair back…

You tell ’em, Fish!

Men In Yellow

Luuuuuuuuuuke!

Gotta say, nice biceps, KB.

We recorded the game, and I was glad we did because I’d forgotten how much I rely on being able to rewind stuff to understand exactly what happened and why the refs sometimes make the calls they make. Things happen so very fast during basketball games!

It was a close game… closer than it should have been. I don’t know what’s going on this season, but the Lakers just aren’t playing that well. But, for that game at least, the Lakers won (yay!) with over 100 points, and managed to keep the other team under 100 points. This is noteworthy because, since it was a home game, it meant that everyone who was there got coupons for two free Jack-in-the-Box tacos. Hooray for free food!

The next day, we were watching the recorded game and Tony goes, “Hey, there we are!!”

What? You don’t see us? Let me help you… that red spot is my jacket which I had just put on. To the left of the red spot is Tony’s purple jersey and beige shorts.

There we are! In the spotlight! We’d just been told that Staples Center was closed and we needed to exit the facility, so we turned around to gather our belongings and that there is our behinds. We definitely made the most of our 15 seconds of fame for the year.

Coming home after the game, we were traversing the opposite direction of massive amounts of traffic (imagine that, everyone going into LA to party for New Year’s?) and made it home just in time to watch the replay of the ball dropping in New York for the west coast.

And that’s how we brought in the new year. Oh, and they gave everyone those fun hats when we entered Staples Center.

Of course, I did other fun stuff over my four day weekend — highlights included a family dinner, organizing our tax book for 2010, sorting my vitamins for the next 4 weeks, water changes in the fish tanks (always), and weeding through the 500 pictures I took at the Lakers game (I discovered the rapid shutter feature on my camera a couple months ago).

With exciting stuff like that (and that’s just a small sampling), now you know why I don’t write more about the mundanities of my life every day.

(Love and Loathe is in the works, plan to post it Saturday-ish, but wanted to get this written and posted before it’s February. I would have had it up sooner, but instead I called my mom to wish her a Happy New Year’s. I knew you’d understand!)

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Filed under Best Husband, Entertainment can be Cheap, I did something Special, I Left Home for Awhile