Friday, November 30, 2007

An apple a day...

I don't go to the doctor often, er, ever really. I mean, there's just no need. Along with my love of food, my mother bestowed upon me a hardy constitution, a certain stubbornness about my invincibility, and an IQ above 10. Therefore, I am rarely ill, when I am injured I tend to just "push through the pain," and I don't engage in silly activities like "climbing trees" or "running really fast" or "riding my bicycle on the road." You know, things that could result in broken bones. (Don't judge my childhood of reading...)

(And nevermind that one of my favorite pasttimes (rollerblading) has resulted in my most serious injury thus far. But there was a car involved. And an impatient driver. I blame him.)

I also dislike taking medicines. I don't know what it is about my brain, but I think the body is better off taking care of itself. If I have a headache, that means I should lie down, not take medicine and work anyway. (I'm sounding more and more like a hippie daily, aren't I?) I try my best to adhere to that belief, but I am human. I've been sick. I've had the flu. And I've taken medication.

(And boy, when I *do* get sick, I get SICK. And I turn into a complete baby. One of those "tend to my every need" people. It's not pretty. In those times, I will actually turn to NyQuil. NyQuil is a lifesaver.)

Regardless, I don't go to the doctor. I don't even have a general practitioner where I live, and I've been here going on eleven years.

I do, however, have my yearly appointment with the "girly doctor." I mean, I'm not completely stupid. I would like to be sure that everything is, um, okay. (AND, the girly doctor writes prescriptions for some very important medications that I somehow don't mind putting in my body...) Today happens to be the day of my appointment.

(No - I'm not going to write about that. C'mon! Even I have my limits.)

What I find interesting about my yearly visit with my girly doctor is the prep work involved. Seriously. It's ridiculous.

It's FREEZING here. I get home late at night, sleep in as much as possible in the morning, have about a million things going on at once... I can't be bothered to shave my legs for the boyfriend, and he lives with me. Any sort of pampering for myself is put on hold until the weekends when there's time for a hot shower....and time for long naps...

And yet, there I was this morning - shaving my legs for a man I see once a year. I mean, I was late to work for that reason, and that reason only.

And what does he care, really? What, do I think he's going to judge me because the hair on my legs might rival his? Do I not think he sees other women who choose not to shave their legs? (Actually, where I live, he probably doesn't. Where I live, women are waxed, plucked, and lasered to within an inch of their life.) So, hypothetically, he HAS to have seen worse personal hygeine than mine. I am not a dirty person (um, daily shower is non-negotiable) ...just busy. But I would no sooner go in there with unshaven legs as I would go in there naked.

And not only shaving my legs, I was worried about any sort of maintenance...you know...down there.

But how can women NOT be? I mean, after seeing shots of Christina and Britney and knowing how they handle the "down under maintenance," doesn't a small part of all women feel that they should follow suit? And if you don't? What if your "down under maintenance" is weird? I mean, how would you know? How often do women discuss this? Does anyone actually compare to other women? With the exception of 'Sex in the City,' I have never heard this as a topic of conversation. And we all know that there is no topic I won't discuss.

(By the way, Samantha and Carrie both add to the pressure that Chrstina and Britney have already created, and is that standard actually maintainable for a normal woman?)

But your girly doctor....see, THEY see it all. What if your maintenance is, um, in need of a touch up? What if your maintenance consists of...er...utter neglect? What will your doctor think?

These are the sorts of thoughts that plague me on the day of my girly doc appointment. It's not, "what if the tests find something abnormal" or "what if he finds a lump." It's "Shit. I missed a spot on my leg when shaving this morning."

Well, that and "I'll definitely bet HER maintenance is worse than MINE," about various women in the waiting room....

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Clementines and other randomness

So, I baked a cake last night. I am ridiculously pleased about my cake. It's called Gooey Pumpkin Cake, and my mother made it for the first time over Thanksgiving. I have a friend who "worships at the altar of pumpkin" so I immediately thought about making one for him.

But first I had to make Gooey Pumpkin Cake version 1.0. You know... To give to the boyfriend to take to work. So that if it sucks, and I really CAN'T bake, then at least I know before I go and present a crappy cake as a gift. The boyfriend is resigned to being the guinea pig, and I think he figures that judging from the ingredients, anything I put together last night had to taste good.... (we hope.)

But the reviews are in and the Gooey Pumpkin Cake 1.0 is a success. Woo Hoo! Tonight I make version 1.1 (one minor modification.) Wish me luck. I'm becoming a regular Suzy Homemaker, huh? Next up - Molasses cookies. (I kid you not.)

I have a test this weekend. I am remarkably un-stressed about said test. I think I'm beyond caring. I need to fix that. It's not like the semester is over, you know... But I have an outing with friends on Friday night, volunteering and spa day on Saturday... It's hard to care about the fourth test of the semester (and the last one before the final.)

When at the grocery store hunting for lunch yesterday, I happened upon seedless Clementines for sale. Um, YUM! They're like small oranges, only better. No seeds, the skin just peels right off, and they're perfectly sweet. It must be the season. Who knew?? The only downside is that they're so small, you can eat 3 and not even notice.

But it's fruit, right? It's not a bad thing if you're eating a lot of fruit...

If you guessed that a couple of clementines are coming with me to class tonight, you are absolutely correct. This is so that I can annoy everyone around me with the smell of orange while not having enough to share...

With two dogs in the apartment, the boyfriend and I share dog walking responsibilities as follows - I walk them every morning, and he walks them every evening. When we're both home, we are responsible for our own dog.

So this morning walk serves a couple of purposes for me lately. First, is it warm enough for me to be lazy and not blow dry my hair? Lately the answer is a resounding no. Not only do I have to dry my hair, I have to wear gloves, a hat and sometimes a scarf. Winter is officially here as far as I'm concerned. Second, are layers the way to go today, or can I get away with just a sweater and a jacket? This varies based on whether or not I have the foresight to pre-heat my car. Third, exactly what are the chances that I'm going to get my butt into the gym to workout that morning? (slim to none in the cold.)

Luckily both dogs are short haired and dislike the cold as much as I do. They exit the apartment, do their business, and then immediately want to go back inside. The problem is that they still think that "inside" is an appropriate place to get rid of all the energy they're left with after the short foray into the cold.

Today begins my month in the garage. Hooray! No more pre-heating the car and further damaging the environment. I can walk directly from the warm apartment into the semi-warm attached garage. Woo Hoo!!! (Of course, this triples the possibility that I will be dressed inappropriately for the cold weather and thus suffer when I have to walk to class on campus.)

Random enough for you? Hope so. Just thought I would get something else posted before another week goes by.

Man, this post-a-day plan worked out really well, did it not?

Oh oh!! One more thing!! I used to think that this whole "feminism" thing was trendy. (joke joke...) Turns out it's been around for longer than I thought possible. Apparently, it's ALWAYS been acceptable for women to propose marriage to men. You just have to pick the correct day. Who knew? And you know what 2008 is, right ladies???

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Go to Hell. Go directly to Hell. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.00...

It's a bonus post for Thanksgiving!!

Actually, it's only because my dad sent me this, and I just can NOT stop laughing. It's one of the many reasons that my soul is in danger of eternal damnation...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm a Turkey

So, I obviously gave up on the daily blogging. As my friend Kat(i)e so wisely realized when I told her my plan to blog every day, I just don't have the time. (I know I should be disturbed that my friends see my life so much more clearly than I do...but I've always had too much on my plate at once. Always. Perhaps I should learn to bite off no more than I can chew, huh?)

I'm off to the parent's house this evening. Casey has had three days straight of daycare, and currently looks like this picture. At least, she should look like that. Last night she had enough energy to wrestle with Tyson and break a coaster. (Of course, I wasn't home, and the boyfriend swears he "only took his eyes off of them for a minute." Then he mentioned that he had to use the restroom, and that was why they were unsupervised. Which is when the scenario became crystal clear. I don't know what men do in the bathroom, ladies, but I'm sure he was in there long enough for the dogs to get up to all SORTS of mischief. But I digress...) I swear my dog has enough energy to power a small city. And she's almost two - shouldn't this "puppy" stage be ending soon?! (FYI her birthday is November 25th. Feel free to send cards and doggie biscuits.)

So we're off to visit the grandparents. Casey is not only tired out, she's getting a bath today. The grandparents are under the impression that Casey is not only well behaved, but also "never smells like dog." Uh huh. We'd like to keep that illusion going for as long as possible. I figure it ensures she's always welcome in their house.

Thanksgiving has an uncharted dynamic this year. I'm not sure how it works in other families, but in mine, holidays are strictly for family. Since my little brother got married in June, this is the first official holiday with a new member of the family. I'm interested to see how it goes, but most importantly, interested to see if I still get first dibs on my childhood bedroom (the room that currently has the only queen size bed on the second floor...) I mean, it is my room, but then again, putting my little bro and wife in a full size bed doesn't really seem fair, now does it? Does that seem like something I would do?? (I'm currently supressing the evil grin.)

Seriously though, the little brother is staying at my parent's house, but eating Thanksgiving dinner at his wife's parent's house. I think my mom is having a little bit of trouble with this empty nest thing, seeing as how she's about a half step away from inviting strangers on the street over for Thanksgiving dinner. Hmmm...

But in the grand tradition begun last year, I thought I would list the things that I am most thankful for this year.

1) A cat who helps me teach my boyfriend to put his clothes where they should be.

2) A dog who reminds me every day that no matter how yesterday ended, I should be ecstatic to see the people I love in the morning.

3) Good hair. It's one thing about my appearance that I don't have to obsess about.

4) The Packers' season. Because, I mean, who saw THAT coming?

5) A budget that allowed me to buy a new car this year. Heated seats are da bomb!

6) The spa gift certificate that the boyfriend gave me for Christmas last year which I miraculously didn't forget about, and will use on December 1st :-)

7) My parents. Without my interesting, dynamic, caring, supportive, fun loving, and slightly dysfunctional family, I would be just another pretty face...

8) Fantasy Football. Because humility is a lesson you just can't learn too often.

9) My friends. Because my friends are better than your friends.

10) My boyfriend. Because he's teaching me patience, and patience is a virtue. Right?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! I hope you get to spend it with people you care about.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rockin' the black boots

So, when I was at class last night, I saw a rather, um, statuesque woman wearing the cutest outfit ever. It was a semi-form fitting black dress, sequined pink sash for a belt, knee high black boots, and a cropped denim jacket to complete the ensemble.

She was a larger woman, but she didn't seem to mind in the slightest. And the outfit was awesome.

So I decided to break out the black boots. Why not? Life is too short. I've come to terms with the fact that I'll never feel skinny enough to wear the boots....so I'll wear them anyway. They're an instant pick me up. I don't think any man is immune.

And besides - it's Friday night. Friday night is date night. It wouldn't kill me to throw the boyfriend a bone every now and then. (Especially when I can't remember the last time I put on makeup or made any sort of effort with my appearance.)

Now that I'm in the black boots, I can't remember why I waited to wear them in the first place. I'm dead sexy :-)

(Though after about two hours, I now know that those tv dramas that take place in hospitals where the female doctors are wearing the black boots with their lab coats are a load of bull. The boots are okay for a sit down job...or a date. But eight hours on your feet? Come on!)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Life is a Comic Strip

On the phone with a girlfriend last night, she mentioned that she enjoyed how I compared myself to Garfield a while back. I enthusiastically launched into all the ways that I have seen parallels between my life and Garfield's - even when I was a young girl.

From Garfield, we moved on to characters in other comic strips and the characteristics that I share with them. She seemed to enjoy the conversation... then again, she always enjoys conversations when I make fun of myself.

So for you, Kat(i)e, here's a list of the top three comic strip characters that I identify with.

Number one has to be Garfield.

As mentioned previously, we were both born at around the same time (Garfield is actually five months and two days younger than I am) so we celebrate milestone birthdays together. We're both cynical and crotchety, and constantly battling with our diets. (Garfield informed me that diet is nothing but "die with a t.") Garfield hates spiders and Mondays with as much passion as I do, and is constantly trying to get rid of Nermal because he's adorable and sweet - pretty much the antithesis of what Garfield stands for. (Kat(i)e also mentioned that, like Garfield, I live with a dopey dog. She was thinking of Tyson. I was thinking that I probably beat up on the boyfriend the way Garfield beats up on Odie...)

Number two is Cathy.

I originally just thought that Cathy and I shared an all encompassing view of the world from the perspective of "daddy's girl." In fact, my mother sends me the Cathy comic strip each Father's day with "Emily" written over the title. The picture is the one that's been hanging in my office for the last couple of years. But in fact, Cathy and I share a lot more than just a hero-worship of our fathers. Cathy constantly struggles with food AND with the advice from her mom which is usually directly at odds with what she herself believes. (It's especially irritating to Cathy when her mom turns out to be correct.) Wikipedia says, "Cathy has a love/hate affair with food (especially carbohydrates). She loves it, but hates what it does to her thighs. She is often shown in a department store fitting room trying to stuff herself into a bathing suit. She is constantly on a diet, weighs herself maniacally and many mornings fears to get up, believing that she has ballooned overnight." and "Although well-meaning, Mom's advice often frustrates Cathy, especially when Mom is right. Cathy and her mother are from two different generations, of course. Cathy grew up in the era of feminism, women's rights and the sexual revolution. Mom is from an earlier, simpler time. Although an equal in her marriage to Cathy's Dad, Mom holds many old-fashioned ideas."

Number three is Lucy.

Bossy, sassy, evil, and a bit of a bully, Lucy and I share more traits than I care to admit. I mean, tell me you can't see me setting someone up to kick a football and then yanking it away at the last minute! I prey on the gullible. :-) I think that if my little brother had remained smaller than me (as is possible in the realm of comic strips) I would still be beating up on him today. He's lucky he grew to over six feet tall. In fact, I was in "ACT" in middle school when we were discussing the possibility of putting on a play about Peanuts. I was the unanimous choice to play Lucy. I guess some things never change.

Runners up include Dolly from the Family Circus, Ziggy, and the cat from Rose is Rose.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Good Kitty.

I don't write about Laney very often anymore. Not that Laney doesn't have a special place in my heart. We've been together longer for far longer than any of the other relationships I have with those in my apartment. But she's so much more low maintenance. It's easy to forget about Laney in the chaos that is my apartment every evening.

It's the classic "squeaky wheel gets the grease" syndrome. The dogs are so much more needy...and Laney, well, all that Laney needs is food in the morning and a warm body to sleep next to at night.

I'd like to note that although the boyfriend is warmer than I am, she is consistently on my side of the bed - the side away from the boyfriend. We've lived together for over a year now, but I think that deep down, Laney just can't accept this new person as permanent. She's just waiting until he leaves. (This is her attitude WITH the boyfriend feeding her every morning and giving her treats in the evening.)

It took Laney a while to get adjusted to the new living conditions, what with the two obnoxious dogs that she now lives with, but she's getting there. She's generally annoyed by Casey (who will chase her around the apartment for fun), but is learning to stand her ground with Tyson. I've found them nose to nose before with Tyson looking on with curiosity and Laney looking in in hatred. I don't think she's frightened of the dogs, per se. More just extremely annoyed.

But then, I've never said Laney was a nice kitty. She loves me, and that's all that matters. To everyone else, well...

This past weekend, as I set about doing the laundry, I noticed a pile of the boyfriend's clothing obscuring the rocker/recliner in our bedroom. It's a constant source of irritation for me, but apparently the boyfriend just doesn't understand that if the clothes aren't in the hamper, they aren't going to get washed. I've given up complaining, and will merely mention every now and again that I am doing laundry, and if his work clothes aren't washed, it's no longer my responsibility.

The clothes continued to sit on the floor and on the chair.

Laney spends most of her time in the bedroom - it's a safe haven from the dogs. I, personally, feel that she's seen this drama play out too many times and has now come to the end of her patience. She decided to take matters into her own paws, so to speak.

Monday night, I entered the bedroom to find Laney pawing the clothing in that unmistakable "I just peed here and am trying to cover it up" way that cats have. I shooed her away, picked up the soiled clothing and mentioned to the boyfriend that "we" (meaning he) *may* have a problem.

Within thirty minutes, all the clothing was picked up, put in drawers, or hung where appropriate.

That's a good kitty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

She's a great girl, but...

I caught a few moments of a re-run of the show "How I Met Your Mother" the other evening. (Side note: If you're not watching this show - even on occasion - you're missing out. Consistently one of the funniest sitcoms I've seen in a while. Neil Patrick Harris KILLS as Barney) The show centered around setting friends up on blind dates, and how every date came with a "but."

"He's a great guy, he's funny, he's smart, but..."

When one of the girls within the circle of friends asked what her "but" was, all of her friends thought of one, but said out loud that of course she didn't have one! She was a great girl!

The concept made me laugh. I am under no illusions of perfection, and I have honest friends, so I thought I would ask what my "but" was.

When I posed the question to my closest male friend, his answer was returned pretty quickly. "She's a great girl, but she has a temper."

True.

He said it was the perfect "but" to tell a new guy. I know it's true, and the guy that he's hypothetically setting me up with will not think it's a huge deal until he inevitably does something stupid and is faced with the temper himself.

At first I was relieved. I don't hide the fact that I have a temper. And my temper, though scary, has a long fuse. It usually takes a lot to make me angry, and it usually takes a lot from someone I care a lot about to make me angry. (I was going to put some blah blah in here about how friends and acquaintances might not know about the temper....but then I reconsidered. I think everyone who knows me knows about the temper...) But in my mind, there are SO many other things that are far far worse...

"She's a great girl, but she's emotionally high maintenance."
"She's a great girl, but you should see her road rage."
"She's a great girl, but she's incredibly stubborn."
"She's a great girl, but she'll obsess about her weight constantly."

But then I asked the boyfriend what my "but" was. His response? "She's a great girl, but she's crazy."

After I was done laughing, I got him to be more specific and determined that the "crazy" was the same as the aforementioned temper. Once I clarified to that point, I got things like, "You're Italian and Peruvian - it's that sort of crazy. You're a fireball. When you're angry, you're like that volcano guy on MarioKart who spews out fire and boulders."

At this point I have to concede. Apparently my temper IS my "but." It's what makes my friend's boyfriend (whom I've only met once!!) say that I'm "scary."

Is it bad that instead of worrying about this temper that is the first thing that comes to mind as my "but," I'm relieved that the temper overshadows my other neurosis?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rainy Days and Mondays...

In college, I decided that my weeks would end on Fridays and begin on Saturdays. There were several reasons for this decision.

First, Fridays are always fabulous for me. I don't know if it's the promise of the upcoming weekend or the symbolic end of responsibilities for a while, but I am ALWAYS in a good mood on Fridays. So I thought the week should end on a good note.

Second, Saturdays are a good day to begin the week on. Even though I usually have responsibilities to attend to, it's not like working for eight hours. I generally enjoy the activities that I have chosen to plan during the weekend.

Third, I thought I could avoid the stigma that Monday brings by beginning the week on Saturday.

Doesn't work. Mondays suck.

Not only were Garfield and I born in the same year, and not only do we share a fear of spiders, we both hate Mondays. With a passion.

What's funny is that Mondays are usually a pretty relaxed day for me. I think my customers need Mondays to gear up into the week just as much as I do, so the orders and demands don't usually hit me until later in the week. Mondays are just a day to catch up on what I've forgotten over the weekend.

I still hate Mondays and everything they symbolize. It's a return to eating healthy foods after the freedom of the weekend. It's always a weary day - even with the abundance of sleep usually found during the weekend. Even though work isn't as horrible as I think it will be.

Mondays are the worst. It's even worse when it's a federal holiday and there are others off using Monday as their second Sunday, while I'm sitting at work trying to come to terms with the fact that another work week is beginning. Boo.

So I'm going to drink my latte and let myself slowly get used to the fact that another week is beginning. Maybe tomorrow won't be so bad. After all, it's another day closer to Friday.

**I wrote this on Monday morning, November 12th. It's appearing on Tuesday, November 13th. I have now learned that even if you write a blog with no purpose, such as this one hating on Mondays, you still have to hit that big orange "Publish Post" button, or the post isn't completed. I blame Monday.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Making Progress...

So, I just found out that my digital camera can take video.

I mean, it's crappy video. And it has no sound. But it does show that we are making SOME progress with getting Tyson into his crate. What this video shows is Tyson in a sit/stay. Then the boyfriend calls to him and tells him to "kennel up."

You can CLEARLY (well, as clearly as the crappy resolution allows) see Tyson enter the crate of his own free will.

video

I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself. The next step is shutting the door and leaving him in there. Well, not for long...but you know. We'll start small. We'll eventually be at hours at a time.

I can't sit still, I'm so excited.

But if I want to be 100% honest with the internet audience (and honestly, how many people can possibly be reading this? so what is my real obligation to be honest??) um, we shut the door on him when he went into his crate voluntarily in this video, and it wasn't pretty.

So what you don't get to see is the whining, and the crying that came just after the camera stopped rolling, and we shut the door. I mean, he didn't even struggle to get out of the crate. It's like he knew it was futile. He just immediately went to howling. It was painful.

But - let's focus on the positives here. Did you watch the silent video? He went in the crate alone. No shoving, no cajoling, no wrestling. You've got to accentuate the positives, right? That is NOT deluding yourself. That is...um... seeing the glass as half full instead of half empty. :-)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

WANTED: One day with no responsibilities

I have this responsibility thing.

And what I mean by that is that I can't relax if there's something I know I need to get done. And I mean that. Even if the very last thing I want to do is something productive, I absolutely can not ignore things that need to be done. No one else thinks this is a flaw. I've been praised for my responsibility. But believe me. It's a flaw. And I don't know where it came from. In college, I used to be able to veg out like a champ. What's happened to me?

Let me give you an example.

I got home from volunteering at the Animal Clinic today at noon. I volunteer from 7:30am until when the last appointment is done (usually 10:30am - 12:00pm) on Saturdays. Great start to the weekend, right? I LOVE it, but after being on my feet for that long, and usually wrestling with one or two large dogs (today it was more like five) I'm pretty tired when I get home. Today when I got home, the boyfriend was out with his monster of a dog until 3:00pm, and all I wanted was to pop some popcorn (my most favorite treat ever!!) and curl up with my dog on the couch while reveling in my much needed and far too infrequent alone time.

But there were dishes in the sink, loads of laundry to be done, a bed to be made... And in my brain, it works something like this, "I know I have to do those things, and I don't want to do them now, but I don't want them weighing on my mind while I'm trying to "relax" and will I want to do them later?"

So I threw in a load of laundry. And I did the dishes. And I swept the kitchen. And I let the dog out and took a quick walk with her. And the entire time, all I wanted to be doing was sitting on the couch with popcorn and a warm dog.

Of course, by the time I got around to that, the boyfriend was home, and my relaxing afternoon had a different dynamic. My alone time was gone.

Are all women like this? I mean, I can't speak for all men, but I definitely know that the boyfriend isn't. He can sit on the couch with filth all around him like a champ. Me? I don't need a spotless apartment, but if I know I have something to accomplish, I feel guilty sitting around doing nothing and wasting precious time.

So a couple of weekends ago, feeling tired and overwhelmed, I gave in to the boyfriend and wasted an entire weekend with him. We even moved furniture. He convinced me to clear out the living room, blow up the air mattress, and pretty much spend the entire weekend napping/sleeping/watching movies with the two dogs keeping us warm. I won't lie. It was a fabulous weekend. I didn't answer the phone, I didn't do any dishes. I didn't pick up any beer bottles from beer that may or may not have been consumed....

But then, Monday morning rolled around, I took a look at my apartment and freaked out. Which, of course, made Monday evening stressful as I tried to get everything done that I should have been doing over the weekend.

So the "lost weekend" had some consequences.

So I've determined that what I want for Christmas this year is one day (I would ask for one weekend, but I don't want to push my luck) with no responsibilities. I don't want to go to a spa, I don't want to spend a lot of money shopping, I just want to be able to waste the day doing nothing, or walking the dog, or napping, or drinking some wine. But the thing is, while I'm doing those things, I want someone else to be handling the responsibilities that I should be doing. Is that so much to ask?

For one day, and one day only, I want a proxy. A clone of me. Anything. I want to run away and do only things that I want to do and I want no repercussions.

I told my mother this. She laughed and told me that it only gets better with children.

I told her that that was reason #715,216,312 why I'm not going to have children, and she should just officially accept Casey as her first "grand-dog-ter."

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Guilty Conscience

Last weekend I went hunting for an "I look awesome" picture. You know, the holidays are coming up... people (read: me) tend to overeat...perhaps a little weight is gained (ahem 10 lbs last year.) So I was looking for a picture that I could stick on the fridge to remind me why I actually shouldn't be eating that pint of Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Roll ice cream. (The only reason why it's not an "I look like a fat pig" picture is because I really don't want the boyfriend looking at that day after day.)

I know, I know...but desperate times call for desperate measures. I consistently fail at the holiday food binge test, so I'm pulling out all the stops.

Instead, in my perusal of old photos, I stumbled across pictures of my old friends and past girl weekends we shared. The pictures were remarkably similar because there are four of us, the pictures always showed only us, we were always wearing the same outfits (our pajamas) unless we were going out (I think we actually wore the same clothing for about 36 hours straight there at the end,) and all were taken in the same location (the house that we crashed at for the weekend.)

When the pictures were taken, we were all single (I had just met the boyfriend) we were all officially "out of school" but nowhere near knowing what we wanted to do with our lives, and we were all completely happy with spending an entire weekend doing nothing but being silly (with a slight diversion into "clubbing" Wisconsin style.)

Now, one of us is married, two are in long term relationships, two are no longer speaking, and two just turned thirty.

In a conference call with the two who turned thirty yesterday, there was a lot of squealing, a lot of laughing, and a LOT of memories. But apparently, we're all still up for a weekend of doing nothing and being silly. So I'll plan on getting that together for us...well, most of us.

See, of the two who aren't speaking, one of them is me. Seems silly, right? Not speaking to each other is soooo seventh grade. I feel like I need to call my mom and ask her to drive me to the mall. This was highlighted when I showed my boss a picture of my friends, and he asked if one of them was the girl to whom I no longer spoke. When I answered in the affirmative, he said, "You guys were best friends?" I said, "Best friends since the eighth grade." He said, "That's such a shame. You guys need to get back together."

Did I mention that my boss just got back from a boys bonding weekend during which he was unreachable for any business questions? (This is so abnormal for him that there aren't even words to explain it. Thus is the power of old friends.)

But even though I brushed it off at the time, I thought about what he said all last night. It DOES seem like a shame, right? And while there was nothing missing in the birthday conference call last night, I felt guilty. But guilty why?

See, I think my friendship with this girl ended because it had fatal flaws the entire time...they just didn't really matter until we were adults. It does seem like a shame, right? All that history just gone. But to me, it's more of that superficial, detached, "bummer" feeling than that "I have to fix this now!" feeling. See, I don't miss the friendship, and I have no urge to "get back together," but I feel guilty for how our posse of friends has been impacted.

For as long as I can remember, I've been the planner. The gatherer of people. The one who keeps in touch with everyone. If I have willing participants, I've put together soccer teams, put together weekend sand volleyball games, thrown New Year's parties, bullied others into letting me use their house for the entertainment of others... If there were girl weekends, it's because I organized the time for everyone to get together.

I've noticed that this "planning gene" (as I call it) does not exist in everyone, even though most people would like to get together with their friends more often. Well...why not? Haven't you noticed that every time people get together (even if for a funeral) they always say "we should do this more often." (at funerals, they add "under more pleasant circumstances of course.") So why don't people do that more often? I don't get it. I LOVE to spend time with my friends. If I can get a group of people together for an evening of...well....anything, then I'm all about it. Why aren't other people?

The problem is that other people just...aren't. So in my group of girlfriends, I'm the planner. And if you're not speaking to the planner, well....

So I should invite this person to whom I'm not speaking, right? I mean, the other girls shouldn't be impacted because obviously she and I haven't matured beyond the age of twelve.

But I don't wanna.

So I think to myself, "One of the other girls should organize something and invite both of us. We can be civil. We're all adults here. If placed in the same location, I'm sure we could find a way to make it work. I just don't want to do the inviting."

Then I sound MORE like a twelve year old. But that's how I feel, and you can't change your emotions. Right?

So I think to myself, "Surely she's getting together with the other girls on her own. I mean, she's calling them and they're keeping in touch on their own. You don't have to orchestrate every aspect of everyone's lives, Em."

And I remain conflicted. And guilty. And you know us Catholics. Even when lapsed, we know our way around guilt. Is there an easy solution to this?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Trigonal Bipyramidal...

...Tetrahedral...Octahedron. That's all I can think about right now.

I had grand aspirations of writing a blog about my friends turning thirty today, and how I can't imagine that I'm almost thirty as well....this age that I feared, and thought of as "so old" for so much of my life thus far. And now? How I still feel like the 22 year old who just graduated from college. And I was going to mention how I saw a girl wearing a t-shirt from my alma mater when I went out for lunch the other day, and I thought to myself, "I wonder if I know her - we're about the same age." And how the thing is, I'm probably about a decade older than she is.

And I was going to discuss deep insights on life, and friendships, sprinkled with witticisms to make you laugh.

But I just got out of chem class. And we're discussing the shape of molecules. And now it's 11:30pm and I REFUSE to give up on nablopomo yet.... So I will tell you about how unpaired electrons affect the shape of a molecule because they take up so much more space than a bond between atoms. Or how a central atom can sometimes break the octet rule to form a molecule that is trigonal bipyramidal.

Or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll just save that for another time, rest my weary brain, and promise to write a more scintillating post for you tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

You Gotta have Faith

Faith.

It's an interesting topic that's been on my mind quite a bit since I reconnected with an acquaintance from high school. He's a leader in his church whereas I am...well, I'm spiritual in a nonconventional way. (read: lapsed Catholic)

I never know exactly how to express my struggles with faith. I asked the boyfriend once, "Do you have faith?"

He answered, "In what?"

I said, "In anything. Anything at all."

His response? "That's a good question."

It is a good question, right? A question that those with a solid belief in their religion have no problem answering. After all, faith is the basis of their beliefs. For example, every time I have a discussion with my mother about the Bible, and question anything she quotes me, it goes something like this:

Me: "Why?"
My mom: "Because of this and this and this."
Me: "But how do you know that this and that are true?"
My mom: "Because they're written here."
Me: "But how do you know that's real?"
My mom: "Faith."

I never have an answer for that last one and it's SO frustrating. I mean, I have faith in some things that I don't even think about. I have faith that the sun will rise each morning. Faith that Starbucks will be open on my way to work. :-) Faith that my parents will always be there for me if I need them. But faith in religion? Notsomuch.

It blows my mind that my mom has faith in the Bible in the same easy non-thinking way that I have faith in the sun. She says she just chooses to believe. Is it really that easy?

I carpooled for my last volleyball match of the season this year. On the ride home, I was speaking to my teammate about various sports played when we were younger. I mentioned that I hadn't played any sports but soccer....and then I remembered one of the biggest achievements of my youth.

"Yeah, I played soccer all through middle school. Actually, my team won the city championship."
"Really?"
"Yes. I remember I was SO excited about that. Even in the days leading up to the game I was excited. It turned out that the game was a really close one, and it came down to the end. I don't remember exactly how we won, but I do remember asking God if he could help us win, and that if he did, I would be so thankful I would thank him every day for a year."
"Wow. That's pretty presumptuous, isn't it?"
"I know. How silly was I to think that God cared about a soccer game in Indiana? But I was about fourteen years old, and I needed his help. I thanked him every day for a year too. Faithfully. I didn't miss one day."
"So, is that a Catholic thing? Do all Catholics just assume that God is on their side and wants them to win?"
"Of course not. I had faith that he could help me, and I bargained for it."

How young was I? But look at all that faith I had. I had that easy, nonthinking faith in God that I now have in the sun. In fact, it was STRONGER than the faith I now have in the sun (that I now know will eventually quit shining :-) God was all powerful and he could do anything. He loved me, he cared about what I wanted, and he would help me out because of that.

I know now that that's not how religion works. I get that. And while I know that childlike faith was somewhat misguided, I can't help but long for how easy it was. My parents taught me that there was a God - so there was. He had a son Jesus - got it. Jonah was swallowed by a whale - uh huh.

Somewhere along the way, I learned to question these things, and unfortunately, the answers I got were never good enough to put the questions to rest in my mind. Maybe I ask too many questions.

I guess it just seems that so many things you put your faith in (relationships, friendships, the idea that everything will work out for the best) seem to fail you. To me, it seems like the only thing you can put 100% faith in is something you can 100% control - like yourself.

But how cynical is that?

I prefer the unthinking, all encompassing faith of my youth. I just wish I knew where I put it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why I don't use AT&T

Yesterday I was given the job of moving my boss's mom's phone service from her old address to her new address. (I know, it's a crap job, but someone has to do it. Believe me - he's currently wishing he had just done this himself.)

Apparently, if you transfer service online, there is no installation fee. Unfortunately, he does nothing online. Nothing. So I had to set up a new account, and get access to all of that, and then attempt to move the service. What you see below is my online chat with the "online assistance" that they offer. Read the entire thing. I assume it's funny if you're not the one trying to get help.

Basically, I say just pay the installation fee. Nothing is worth this headache. Or better yet, just avoid AT&T altogether. (FYI - if you call their customer service line, and they can't take your call - they don't put you on hold...oh no. That would be easy. They just tell you to call back later and hang up on you. It's a great system all around.)

Please note, I posted this AFTER I found a fabulous customer service rep on the phone who fixed everything for me....I'm no longer quite as angry as I was... so I can see the humor in this. A little.

********

AT&T product specialists are happy to assist you with your questions. Click below to begin your live text chat.

Chat representatives will not have access to your personal account. This service is provided to you under AT&Ts Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Welcome to AT&T. My name is Monica. How may I help you today?
Monica: I am happy to answer your questions on AT&T services. I specialize in setting up new phone accounts and High Speed Internet service.
you: Hi Monica, I'm trying to transfer my phone service to my new address. Can you help me do that?
Monica: I sure can. What page are you currently on?
you: It tells me this: We're sorry, the product or service you selected requires additional information to process, please call us at 1-800-288-2020 Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 9 pm and Saturday, 8 am to 5 pm ET.
Monica: What page di dit heppen on?
you: The last page when I had to confirm that I did want to move my service. It had already confirmed my service at my old address.
Monica: Click cancel order then say continue shopping.
you: I just did. But I don't see an option to transfer my service? I'm on a page that says "My Cart"
Monica: It should be further into your order process.
you: I don't understand?
Monica: Your new address should be decided later on in the order.
you: Okay. But what do I click on to begin the process again?
Monica: Click begin checkout.
you: It will not let me begin checkout. There is nothing in my cart.
Monica: What phone service do you want to purchase?
you: I don't want to purchase any service - I just wanted to transfer my current service to my new address.
you: It said that if I do that online, the installation fee is waived.
Monica: Correct. The order process online will allow you transfer but you will need to clarify your services.
you: how do I do that from where I am? Last time I thought I was going through the process, it threw that error and wouldn't let me continue.
Monica: I can help you through if you would like.
you: yes please.
Monica: Do you call locally or long distance as well?
you: locally.
Monica: How often do you think you will be using your home phone for local calling?
you: I'm not sure...the plan that I have in place seems to suit my needs.
Monica: Do you know what plan that is?
you: Not off the top of my head. Do you need that information to help me switch my service?
Monica: No, but I was just wondering if you wanted the same.
you: Yes, I want everything to remain the same as it is currently set up. I just need to change the address.
Monica: You can log into your account manager to see what you currently have.
you: What link do I need to click on to transfer my service?
Monica: Would you like ot see what you currently have?
you: No thank you. I just need to transfer service to my new address.
Monica: We have a phone plan for unlimited local calling plus up to 10 calling features for about $32 or less a month.
you: No thank you. I just need to transfer the existing service to my new address.
Monica: Would you like the numebr to call customer service?
you: I have called twice, but they can't take the call. They say that the call volume is too high. Can you help me do this?
Monica: I can help you transfer your service if you would like.
you: Yes please.
Monica: Do you want a basic phone plan with no calling features?
you: I want exactly what I currently have, I just need to move it to my new address.
Monica: When you order online you will be able to transfer your service but if you would like to transfer what you currently have, you will need to call. Online ordering will allow the transfer but you will need to clarify your current phone plan.
you: Clarify it how? Can't I just transfer what I already have?
Monica: Do you have an account manager?
you: I don't understand?
Monica: You can but you will need to choose each individual option that you currently have.
Monica: Would you like to start with the basic phone plan?
Monica: We have not heard from you in a while. Do you wish to continue this chat?
you: no thank you.

Monday, November 05, 2007

She's not....quite right in the head.

Look, I am well aware that I can't save every animal on the planet. I am also well aware that I am about one animal away from being "that lady" in my apartment complex. Heck, if I didn't live with the boyfriend, I would already BE "that lady." But, God help me, I want to take this guy home:



That's the problem with being involved in any type of animal rescue, I suppose. I see good dogs like this guy all the time, and I want to take all of them home. I can only dream of how much better my life would be with this good boy than with the jerk that I live with. Unfortunately, when I call the boyfriend and offer him the opportunity to get rid of his monster (who likes to torment me by hanging out near his crate, but making the task of getting him in his crate a holy nightmare) and pick up a new, better version, the answer is an emphatic "no." I guess I understand. I mean, heaven help the person who tries to take Casey away from me. But still...

So if I can't get rid of Tyson, can we at least adopt this little guy and expand our family? I mean, look at how CUTE he is!! At this point I am gently reminded that the animals in our apartment already outnumber the humans. Pretty soon we will be able to legitimately advertise as a zoo.

So I pout, I am sad, and we compromise by fostering the little guy until he finds a new home. (at which point I will cry and know deep down that it's for the best.) I can't save them all. The numbers are too overwhelming. I should be happy that I'm doing my best to make a difference, to show people that big dogs (pit bulls in particular) are not the devil incarnate. There's a GREAT article in a local magazine this month that is definitely worth reading on the subject. (Check it out here) But the article also highlights that it's a neverending battle to save all these great dogs. And this only focuses on the pit bulls.

So I'll remember this when I'm in school and classes seem overwhelming. I'm doing this to make a difference, right? So that eventually there are less cute little guys with no homes, and that even though I can't take them all in (I've seen Animal Planet. I know what happens to those people who think they can save every single animal they come across...) I'll do my best to make a difference.

(and maybe get to keep this cute little guy as well. I mean, we already HAVE an extra crate that's not being used....and once he's in the apartment, well...it will be harder to send him away, right?)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Colts - 20, Patriots 24

Tonight - I got nothing. I just watched my team lose a comfortable lead in the fourth quarter to a hated rival. Boo. I don't have any creativity left. So instead I'll post a silly picture of my dogs in Colts gear.



This is why I don't have children. Because I would take embarrassing pictures of them all the time and they would grow up scarred for life.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Success! (well...sorta.)

Contrary to what the last three days may lead you to believe, this blog is not always about Tyson. However, crate training is dominating my evenings lately, and it's much more interesting to read about than the Chemistry test I just took, right? By the way...

We did actually get him in the crate tonight.But what you can't see here is that the boyfriend is feeding him snacks at a rate of approximately 15 per minute. I'm not exaggerating. I didn't even want to close the door on him yet. I'm still working on getting him to accept that the crate is a happy place - not a bad place. But I think the boyfriend needed encouragement that his dog WAS actually learning and NOT the devil incarnate. So we closed the door. And Tyson was in the kennel. And he didn't make a sound between the 500 treats he was given.

Oh, and when the door was opened, he ran out so fast that the boyfriend barely had time to back away and avoid getting run over. Does that seem like a dog on the verge of being crate trained to you? Me neither.

And he still doesn't go in voluntarily. When I tell him to kennel up, he still looks at me like I'm an idiot. When I say it again, he looks doubtfully at the kennel and then back at me.

(this is obviously to let me know that he KNOWS what I want...he just doesn't want to do it. I think the bonus effect is that it makes me really really angry. I personally think the dog gets some sick pleasure from not listening to me.)

(Okay, so know that's not true. That's not how dogs think. But that's how I FEEL.)

In the meantime, as I keep saying "kennel up" to Tyson, Casey is patiently waiting to be recognized as a "good doggy." Please note the open door. She's in there voluntarily. She's such a good girl.

(Nope. No bias here. No favoritism. None at all.)

Unfortunately (for Tyson) his extreme love of food outweighs his extreme hatred of the kennel. So he'll eventually go in. But still in on his terms. So I get this.



or this



That's okay. For now, it's enough. I think we're now at Tyson 1, Emily 1/2

Friday, November 02, 2007

Is that a velociraptor in your living room?

So, Tyson's a stubborn ass, and I need a crate that can hold him. Luckily, the more I get involved with pit bull rescue, the more networking I happen to fall into.

This past weekend, at a march to raise awareness about bully breeds and breed specific legislation, I met a lady who trains dogs for police work. She also used to breed American Bulldogs for show. I had heard that she had a crate that was guaranteed to hold any dog, and I had heard that she would sell it for cheap.

The answer to my prayers, right? Um, kinda. Here's the crate



Is it just me, or does it bear a striking resemblance to one of the opening scenes of Jurassic Park? Every time I walk by it, I want to yell, "Shoot her! Shoooooot her!!"

But I guess beggars can't be choosers.

So the night after we brought the eyesore into the apartment, the boyfriend and I began training Tyson to actually get in the thing. Surprisingly, this proved sorta easy. You see, the one thing I have going for me in all of this is that Tyson is very food driven. I think he could eat 24 hours a day and still be hungry for more.

So I sliced up some summer sausage, and put my fingers through one of the air holes in the back of the kennel while saying, "kennel up Tyson."

Casey immediately ran into her kennel and sat - almost quivering with excitement. I could almost hear her thoughts. "Oh oh! I know! I know what this means! Look at me, mom!! Look at me!!" It broke my heart that I couldn't give her a piece. But she has a notoriously weak stomach, and besides, I had bigger fish to fry.

Tyson's first plan was to ram his head against my hand in the hopes that he would knock my fingers out from the air hole, and the piece of summer sausage onto the floor. His plan succeeded twice. Apparently he's not as dumb as he looks.

I started cutting bigger pieces, and bracing myself against his weight. As his plan became less successful, he looked doubtfully at the door of the crate.

"That's a good boy," I crooned. "Kennel up."

At this point, he ran into the kennel, snatched the sausage from my fingers, and backed out amidst much praise from the two humans who were watching the whole thing. The next piece of sausage went much the same way. And the next. And the next. Until Tyson would enter the crate on the "kennel up" command. I thought we had won. And then I saw this:



Jerk.

Apparently his definition of "in the crate" is different than my definition of "in the crate." We'll work on that next.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Adventures in Crate Training

Let me just begin by saying that I hate that dog.

The more that I live with Tyson, the more I come to understand his personality.

Casey is like the ADD validectorian of your high school. She really really really wants to please the teacher and get an A in her class. She's always paying attention, and she's learning as much as she can. When you want her to perform, she's going to do her best - as long as there is nothing bright and shiny, or loud, or unexpected....or...well, as long as there isn't ANYTHING to distract her.

Tyson is more like a student who really likes his teachers, and wants them to like him, but when it comes right down to it, he can beat the living shit out of them. So if he doesn't want to listen, he knows he doesn't really have to. And since he's more stubborn than 99% of the population, he's practically guaranteed to get his way.

Unfortunately he lives with me, and I'm part of the 1% who can trump him in the stubborn department. I may not be able to find my way out of the forest with a map, and I may not be able to say no to chips and queso, but I'm a stubborn ass when I want to be.

All this basically means that Tyson and I are squaring off for an epic battle.

To review - Casey is crate trained. She has been crated since she was the six week old puppy who came to live with me. This is her crate:



Crate training her wasn't easy, but even though I know she would never harm my cat, I'm of the opinion that dogs do not need free reign over a household. A) I don't have an unlimited furniture budget, B) even the best dogs get into trouble sometimes, and C) they're dogs. I hate people who tell me that it's less cruel to let the dog roam free in a house all day. It's not. They're still confined. It's just a bigger crate. They spend most of the time sleeping anyway. (And to those who say, "Well I wouldn't want to be in a crate all day." I say "I don't really want to sniff pee and roll in it either. That's what makes us different than dogs.")

Casey is used to her crate now. So much so that exceptions can be made and she can sleep out with me sometimes, or spend days at a time with me and never go into her crate. But when I say "kennel up" she's in her crate immediately.

Tyson is NOT crate trained. Before we knew that he was insane, the boyfriend purchased a crate for him that was identical to Casey's, put him in it, and proceeded to get ready for work. He had just gotten to the bathroom and picked up his toothbrush when he saw Tyson sitting by the bathroom door. We estimate that it took him 30 seconds to break the welds on the door and shove his way out of the crate.

The next step was an airline kennel. It looks like this:



This one took him a little longer. It took him about 5 minutes to break the door off of its hinges to get out. After that, we did what any rational couple would do. We put bungee cords around the crate to hold the door in place, and then took the added step of facing the door of the kennel towards the wall (once Tyson was in it of course) and put the sofa behind the kennel to keep it from moving when he started trying to fight his way out.

That held him. It wasn't pretty, but it held him. We had just gotten to the point where Tyson was throwing shit fits (literally) when the boyfriend threw in the towl. I don't really blame him. I mean, he lived alone, crating Tyson was a huge pain in the ass and required furniture movement on a regular basis, which was unrealistic. So while he lived alone, the boyfriend basically gave in and Tyson had run of the apartment. He "loaned" his sister his crate to use for her dog.

Then the boyfriend and I moved in together. And you all know what happened then. But you've never actually SEEN the damage inflicted by the devil dog. Here it is, my friends, in all of its gruesome glory.





The carpet was destroyed within hours of moving Tyson into the apartment. Now, to keep our carpet from facing more destruction, we have placed an ugly piece of plastic over the torn carpet. Here's what it looks like now:



Note the cracks. The damn dog is digging through the plastic. But I guess I should be grateful that the door actually holds him in, right?

Since the day we moved in together, I've been telling the boyfriend that Tyson would be crate trained. I had visions of my beautiful apartment with an actual functioning guest room. Of my perfectly trained dogs who would go to bed on command. It was all too feasible...all I needed was a crate that Tyson couldn't break out of. Then he would learn once and for all that the humans in the apartment are actually the alpha dogs and are to be obeyed at all times.

I should be careful what I wish for, right? This time, I got it, but it's got a few unexpected strings attached.

More to come, but for now, I think the score stands at Tyson 1, Emily 0.