Thursday, October 30, 2008

I'm the dog? I'M THE DOG?!*

My ex friend compared me to George W. Bush this morning.


And then he compared me to Shrek.

I have great [ex] friends**.

You know how sometimes, you feel really really really strongly about something? Something that it seems that no one else understands? You can usually explain those things to your friends, and they will nod along and make sympathetic noises as you explain your emotions and how you plan to act on them, and how you try to balance emotion with reason and move forward with your life.

At least, you can do those things with my friends. If you can't, perhaps you should invest in new friends.

I may or may not have taken advantage of this in endless circular discussions about the boy. And my friends sigh, and they nod, and they listen, and they cross their fingers that this time my path will make it through the woods. (I think it's more so that they don't have to listen to a description of the woods any longer, but it may also be because they want me out in the sun as much as I do... :-) They know I'll figure it out eventually, and really, nothing they say will make a difference. It's not worth the effort.

But what about when I feel really really strongly about something, and instead of nodding and making sympathetic noises, my friends open their mouths and explain that perhaps (perhaps) I may be making an error and throwing off that emotion/reason balance off in favor of too much emotion? What if all of a sudden, they feel that I'm making a big enough mistake that it IS worth the effort to say something just in case it makes a difference?

This isn't about the boy.

What about when I feel super-strongly about something that I can't even think about without tearing up***, and I discuss it with my friends, and every single one of them disagrees? Every. Single. One. What then?

Well, I don't want to be W. I mean, I can see the mistakes he's made plain as day. Can he? Do you think that hindsight really is 20/20? Do you think he wishes he had listened to [intelligent] others [without hidden agendas] just once? Do you think that for a second he realizes (even now) that when you're the only one thinking that you're right, there's a slight possibility that you're actually wrong? I mean, he's repeated mistakes, right? So maybe he doesn't realize. Maybe he doesn't see.

Me? Well, if I'm sure about a course of action, it's not up for discussion. I just do it, smart or dumb. I don't want to hear anyone else's judgment on what I want to do when I'm sure. But I'm reasonably intelligent. My "I'm absolutely sure about this possibly dumb decision" is usually something like, "I'm totally buying these $150.00 fuschia boots that don't really fit that well, but would totally go with this one dress that I own." So when I'm unsure? It's a big thing. It's weighing heavy on my mind. It's something that I don't want to screw up. I poll my friends and family. I talk to them about what they would do in my situation. Some opinions weigh heavier than others. But when everyone else is in agreement, and they all agree that perhaps I'm not choosing the correct course of action? Well, it sends me back to the drawing board to re-think things.

The problem is that since it's a big something, and I'm struggling with the decision, going back to the drawing board isn't easy. It's going back and re-thinking priorities and principles and trying to figure out where I could have made a mistake when drawing up the rules for "what makes up Emily," and trying to figure out what everyone else sees that I'm just missing. Pretty much everything else in my life stops for a while.

But on the other hand, apparently I could be Shrek who [according to the ex-friend] saw something that was very, very important to him that he wanted, and he went after it even though other people didn't think it would work out. Even though it turned ugly for a bit, at the end, it worked out for the best, and everyone was happy.

I'm sure there's another story that had a prettier protagonist that worked out that way...ahem.

Do I want to run the risk of being W just for the possibility of being Shrek? Or do I want to understand why everyone else sees something that I don't and take their good advice?

But there is a bright side, I guess. If I screw this up, it's only myself that I'm placing in an impossible situation. At least I'm not controlling the fate of an entire nation.

*If you don't catch this reference, then we can no longer be friends.
**We're still friends. Promise. I'm being "pretend outraged" that he drew such unflattering comparisons. This is, no doubt, the reaction he was intending to elicit****
***Which really, doesn't mean much since I cry at coffee commercials
****I felt the need to explain that for those who don't "get me" quite yet. Don't worry. You'll get there.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I distinctly remember when I learned to apply makeup. I was a freshman in high school, and my colorguard instructor taught me how to apply mascara, blush and eyeliner. For winterguard he taught us how to pluck our eyebrows. Eventually he noticed that we needed to use concealer - and some girls learned how to fix the eyebrows that they had botched. (And yes, he taught us the "drag queen" style for when we were performing, but when he learned of our woefully inadequate makeup-applying skills, he took pity and taught us day-to-day wear also.) Best. Makeup. Tips. Ever.

At first I was excited. I looked like I was in high school, and not a little baby middle-schooler. (I didn't.) Look at me seniors!! (They didn't.) But the more I thought about it, I was sort of perturbed. Why hadn't my mother taught me these vitally important tips? I mean, I'm a girl - she's a girl. She wears makeup. I would have eventually worn makeup. It just seems like something you would teach your daughter, right? A bonding experience, if you will. Why was my mother not teaching me these vitally important womanly skills?

A few weeks ago I went to see a play. A friend of mine has gotten involved in community theatre and I went to see her play a vitally important role in 'Charlotte's Web.' On the way to the theatre, I picked up some flowers for her. The friend that accompanied me mentioned that he never would have thought of the flowers for our friend. I stopped for a second to consider WHY exactly I had the flowers. Well, that's what you do when someone is in a play. You take them flowers like they're in the starring role, whether they are or not. That's just....what you do.

Two weeks ago marked my company's first day in our new office. It was a day of building desks, moving files and throwing away boxes. It was an exciting move with new hardwood floors, more space, crown moldings, etc etc. I brought a bottle of champagne for the end of the day when we were all moved in. Why? Because that's what you do to celebrate a new place, a new beginning, a new set of circumstances. That's just....what you do.

On a random Sunday past, I had planned to have the late afternoon/evening completely free. Homework done, dogs tired, food ordered... just me, my book, and my TV for background noise. I even pulled out the fluffy blanket to snuggle with because I knew that a nap was probable. Then a friend called with a crisis. I put aside the book, shot it one longing glance, and then wrapped up in the comfy blanket and turned off the TV because my friend needed me. That's just....what you do.

I don't know how I just know those things. How I know that when you go to someone's house for a party you take a bottle of wine or a snack and always always ask what you can do to help. How I know that if you see something that immediately makes you think of someone, you buy it for them right then and there - even if there's no occasion. (well, this happens more when I have money, but you get the idea...) How I know that even though we're "all grown up," sometimes making a fuss over a birthday is mandatory. How I know that sometimes embarrassing the heck out of the boy with PDA is the key to a healthy relationship. How I know that gossip is terrible, but if it's something juicy, and I just can't seem to keep it to myself, I had better surround myself with people who can :-) How trust is the most important thing you can have between two people. How drama just isn't worth it, and telling the truth is always the most direct way to resolve any situation. How being yourself is the best way to be - your good friends will always understand.

I fail all the time on when to send cards, and I have friends who are much more up on etiquette than I am. But after reviewing the way I'm hardwired, I don't think I mind so much about the makeup. I'm pretty sure my mom covered all the important stuff - I think she figured that I would figure the rest of the stuff out on my own.

She was right.

Besides, I don't think she knows half the killer makeup techniques I know - even though I don't use half of them. Maybe I should set up a lesson with her. You a thank you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Young Adult Fiction

So, contrary to popular opinion (including my own) I actually had the stress-free, relaxing weekend I was coveting. Dinner on Friday night was fabulous, and I highly recommend the restaurant. Great atmosphere, great food, and great drinks. On Saturday, I met an old friend for breakfast, volunteered until 3:00, and then went home and did not emerge (or shower) for the rest of the weekend.

The dogs got daycare on Friday and multiple things to chew throughout the weekend. They spent the bulk of their time curled up with me on the couch while I tore through this month's book club book... and the two subsequent books in the series.

Young Adult Fiction - 3. Homework - 0.

Apparently my love for brain candy knows no bounds.

On Sunday evening a friend called to see if I wanted to walk the dogs. I dragged myself off the couch, made myself presentable, and confirmed that I could, in fact, spend time with people and not be mopey. (It helped that there were plenty of deer to chase and that Casey got within three feet of one before it took off and left her in the dust.)

Update on the car to come. For now, I have massive studying to catch up on. I'm not letting myself even purchase book four until after my test on Thursday. Obviously, my commitment to memorizing human bones can not compete with my desire to find out what happens to Bella.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Stress is a funny thing. In the days since the car accident, I've been super super stressed out. I don't think I've reached my breaking point yet. But I would be lying if I didn't say that I could definitely see the appeal of just letting go and freaking the hell out. (Side note: It took me a long time to understand that different people can handle different things. I just thought those who broke down were being wimps. I never considered that perhaps they literally could not walk away from the edge.) So in the various moments throughout the week when I eyed the cliff and considered jumping off (while knowing full well that I wouldn't/couldn't) I could definitely see why some people would take that option and never look back. It's just so....freeing.

Of course, then who would make sure things got done? This is usually what brings control-freak Emily back to reality, makes her take a deep breath and remember that as long as she's moving forward, the end will come soon enough. Besides, lying in bed and ignoring all responsibilities with the latest book club book is just as good as jumping off the cliff, and has less negative effects on my life.

Luckily I'm surrounded by great people. The boy came through, if not with flying colors at least with a solid A. I have a great boss who is also fabulous for brainstorming. I have friends who are willing to drive me places and rearrange their schedule to help me out. I have supportive and unbelievably giving parents. And, last but not least, I have a cousin who will take exactly what I'm willing to share with her, read between the lines, and dole out reliably good information time after time. I think she gets the bulk of the credit for talking me away from the cliff, and she did it all from thousands of miles away. She's an amazing woman, and I suggest you all get a cousin just like her.

Between everyone, I was able to have my freak out moment (sorry for any of you who were involved in that period) and then return to reality and breathing.

I am so grateful for the number of phone calls I received with support and just checking in to see if I was okay. I'm sorry if I haven't returned all of them. Let me get to the point where the car accident is an amusing anecdote and I'll get right on that.

Okay, the update is that there is no update. There are questions about the insurance coverage that might not be answered until next week. I don't know what those questions are, but they're making me nervous. I'm currently driving a canary yellow rental that I hate, but (sigh) at least I have a car. (It's so yellow. Did I mention that it's yellow?) My beloved Curvy is currently at the dealership where they're working on an estimate. I also have an insurance adjuster going out there to get a second estimate just in case. I saw her yesterday and was going to take pictures for you guys, but it was just so sad that I couldn't do it. They had her up and taken apart to see the damage, and though she looked fine from the outside after the accident, the underside of her rear end doesn't look so great from underneath. (insert brief sob here)

Things could be worse. I know, and I remember this every day. But the way I explain my stress to my boss is this: Since I don't own a home, my car is my most valuable possession. Some girl just ran right into it, damaged it quite a bit, and I'm not sure when I'll get it back, or IF I'll get it back. I know that in a month, or even a week, this will all be under control. It's just getting from here to there that's a struggle for me.

Physically I'm fine and I know this because my mother badgered me into going to the doctor. (It was either go to the doctor or kill my mom. The first option is less messy, so in the end, I guess I reinforced the badgering behavior by giving in.) Tonight the boy and I are going out to a nice dinner with a $100 gift card that we've been saving for "the right time." He seems to think that a free dinner with no stress seems to be the thing I need right now. I think he's right.

But he's going to make me drive. In the yellow embarrassment. Sigh. I guess it's never NOT time to mess with Emily's psyche. It's okay. The fact that I'm already thinking of retribution shows that I'm already on the road to recovery, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can't Even Blog Right Now... go read this.

I'm okay. Shaken up and sore today but okay. Curvy did not fare so well, though she absorbed the impact awesomely and I'm going to take this opportunity to suggest you get a Honda for your next vehicle. I honestly exited my car (with curtain side airbags deployed) expecting to see twisted metal, shattered glass, and steam rising from my car.

There was twisted metal, and there was broken glass, but all from the other driver's car. Curvy looks perfect from the outside, with the exception of her rear driver's side tire, which is bent in at an awkward angle.

Everything is fine, no one was hurt, I didn't have my dogs with me, and with the exception of my car (and her car, of course) it's the best possible outcome from this scenario. Still, I'm shaken up, I'm scared, and I'm in the unusual position of not being entirely self sufficient at the moment which is stressing me out the most. Think good thoughts for Curvy and I'll post later with pictures and more info.

Friday, October 10, 2008


60 - My total height in inches
35 - The number of Pull 'n' Peel Twizzlers that I've eaten so far
6 - Number of days it's taken me to eat the Pull 'n' Peel Twizzlers
501 - Number of times I've wished I didn't have dogs in the last 24 hours
3 - Number of times I've attempted to eat six Saltines in sixty seconds
0 - Number of times I've succeeded
17 - The number on the Colts jersey that I just received (happy belated birthday to me!!) and love love love.
5 - Number of guys who have looked at me strangely because they can't figure out whose Colts jersey I'm wearing
5,682 - Number of times I've cursed about choosing to play Philip Rivers over Ben Roethlisberger in fantasy football last week
223 - My total cholesterol. (Go ahead. Be horrified. I only post that here because I'll post an update in six months when it's MUCH lower. And in my defense, my body manufactures high amounts of good cholesterol (thanks Mom!!) so the ratio? Isn't that bad. But the total does give you some sticker shock...I'll give you that.)
23.5 - Number of hours I logged in studying for my test yesterday
1 - Number of surprising discoveries I've made about myself in the past week
2 - Number of times I've let the dogs sleep in my bed in the last week
2 - Number of times Laney has woken me up at 5:30am out of spite because the dogs are on the bed and she's not
1 - Number of times I've voted for the candidate who eventually became president
2 - The number to which I hope to increase the previous statistic come November
40 - Number of minutes early that I have to leave the house if I want to take the dogs to daycare. (I hope they appreciate the sacrifice...)
750 - Number of square feet in my home
1500 - Number of square feet I would have in my home if I used the basement for anything other than storage and laundry (stupid spiders)
2 - Number of Classic Coca-Cola 20oz bottles I purchased this morning. (Note the omission of the word "diet." I'm trying. Really I am.)
287 - Number of cents for a gallon of gas yesterday. Too bad I filled up two days prior
24.2 - Average miles per gallon of gas that Curvy is currently getting
32.1 - Highest average mpg I've gotten out of Curvy when driving to my parent's house
20 - Average number of emails that I exchange with zlionsfan on any given day.
3 - Number of glasses of sangria I drank last night to celebrate the fact that my test is over
6 - Number of times I hit snooze this morning.
5 - Number of my readers who I'll bet are going to try the Saltines thing in the next week or so. (Just make sure to let me know how that turns out.)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Cholesterol, Schmolesterol

I was just on the phone with a friend marveling at how "adult" I felt. I have blocks of time scheduled to study, I quit studying at responsible times so that I'm not exhausted at work the next day, I squeeze in good walks with the dogs, I have about ten thousand different things going on, but as long as they're written down in my calendar in advance (no, I don't have a crackberry, thanks for asking) I can plan around them, and usually show up as scheduled. (I say usually because sometimes? Naps with warm dogs simply can not be avoided.) Look at me! Completely in control and doing what I should be doing. Isn't this the very definition of an adult?


Okay, so below the surface, it's not all completely in control. What I've done is make a list of priorities and then focus on what I can. School? Mega important. Dogs? Also Mega important, but unfortunately, trumped by school. Sleep? Recently moved up to Mega important - not trumped by anything anymore.... etc. etc. Some things have gotten scrapped. Reading for pleasure? Gone. Visiting friends who are out of state? Gone. Blogging? Well...I can't give up ALL my guilty pleasures. Diet? Um, not even on the list of items to focus on. Actually, it's nowhere near the list. Not even in the same room. Which brings me to the call from my doctor yesterday telling me that my cholesterol is high*.

I'm sorry, what? Isn't that something that only grown-ups have to worry about?

Oh, right.

So then comes the anger. The doctor can't save me from death's door, but oh thanks so much for diagnosing something ELSE I have to treat.

Then comes the acceptance. Damnit. Must now move "diet" up on the list of importance.

I knew this was a risk. I know where I come from. (Hi Dad! Thanks so much for these genes! Love you!!) But, you know, there are only so many hours in a day. And besides, Emily does like herself some queso dip. Yum.

I'm supposed to meet with the doctor to discuss "treatment of this issue." Blech. So I talked to my new BFF, Google, and we discussed exactly what "treatment options" the doctor would bring up. Not being such a fan of medication, I am resigned to the fact that I must alter my diet and lifestyle to be more healthy. (insert heavy sigh here.) I'm not looking to change everything all at once....I know that sets you up for failure. (Although, this seems to be my MO... Swing all the way over to the side of "healthy" and then chip away at the good habits until there is nothing left but queso and Ben & Jerry's and regular Coke, all while deluding myself of my "healthy" status and ignoring the fact that none of my pants fit.) I'll be adult about this. I can do this... unfortunately even changing little things right now seems daunting.

Easy things: oatmeal for breakfast each morning (sniff... bye bye McMuffin) and at least two meals per week that focus on tuna or salmon. And olive oil? Dude. No problem. I'm Italian. I've just got to rein that in. :-)

Regular exercise.

Right. Regular exercise. Not so easy. Let's see... I can squeeze that in in the mornings before I have to be at work. Um, wait, it's dark outside then. Shoot. Um, I can squeeze it in after work! Right. Three times per week - MWF. I have to walk the dogs, I will combine the two. Done.

Three times per week? Really? That's all? And only walking?

Um, gym membership? Right. When it's included in the soul-sucking tuition payments and the powers that be decide to add two hours to the day, I'll consider it.


So when I read this post from a favorite blogger, I was tempted. I've never purchased an exercise video before, but, hey, there's a first time for everything, right? And the price is right because is awesome. But still... an exercise video? Like, to do at home? It just seems so... so... cheesy, somehow. I've always been a fan of going somewhere (outside, gym, class) to get my workouts in.

Pros: I can wear whatever I want to work out and not worry about who's seeing me. I can fit this in in the mornings before I shower. I don't have to spend a lot of money. I don't have to tell anyone about this. (well, unless I post it on my blog.)

Cons: Um, I feel like a weiner.

So I bought the video today. When I start I'll let you know. I'm sure it will be a rollercoaster of fun. (stupid cholesterol.) Any other suggestions to get in a decent amount of exercise? I know you all have busy schedules too...

*I knew nothing good would come from going to the doctor. Blargh.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Just in case you've missed them...

...and also so I've got one place to go and watch them to make myself smile...

Friday, October 03, 2008


One day last winter, when Blue was still a newbie and skinny as a rail, the boy and I took Casey and Blue out to the tennis courts at the apartment complex and let them frolic in the fenced in the snow. The sheer joy the showed while they pranced around, threw the snow in the air with their noses, and wrestled around on the ground until all you saw was a blur of blue and brown made me say, "This. This is why I have dogs."

I've been low on the willpower lately. I don't know if it's because all of my energy is focused on worrying about school, because it's getting cooler and my body is trying to enter hibernation mode (read: eat Qdoba 24/7), because tuition payments are sucking out my soul, or because I'm just worrying about school a lot (I'm sorry, did I list that twice? Hmmm.) but lately, if I want to watch football, I watch football. If I want to wear a sweatshirt to work, I wear a sweatshirt to work. (I think my boss is afraid to mention the sweatshirts.) Diet Coke? Psshhh. There is no "diet" in "stressed." If I want to have warm bodies to snuggle with in bed, I let the dogs sleep up with me. If I see juicy tasty dog treats that cost more than the food I'm buying myself, I buy them for the dogs. Apparently, if I am going to be stressed, I am going to use my dogs to bring me joy.

The dogs? They are getting spoiled. I don't think they mind being used.

There's a huge fenced in field near my house. "Fenced in" being the operative words there. It's part of Crown Hill Cemetery, and it contains tall grass, some dense woods, a huge wide open field, and (most importantly) an overabundance of deer. Now, pit bulls aren't like, say, beagles, or huskies. Pit bulls are pretty emotionally attached to their humans... So after a lecture about how I should trust my dogs more, I let them both off their leash and let them roam around the field. They didn't go far... until Blue spotted the deer. Immediately both dogs took off after the bouncing white tails. I would have been more frightened of losing my dogs if the scene hadn't been so hilarious. Neither Blue nor Casey is taller than maybe two feet from the ground, but while Casey is all legs, Blue is mostly muscle. The deer seemed to be as tall, if not taller, than I was...their backs, I mean. Their heads seemed like they would tower over me. Not to mention the antlers on some of them. Sheesh. There is no hunting in the cemetery, so these deer are BIG.

While Blue is moving his little legs as fast as he possibly can, the deer are getting further and further away from him. Still, he's running with a huge grin on his face and his tongue flapping in the wind. The deer disappeared into the woods, and without hesitation, Blue crashed in after them. At this point, even though I had lost sight of my dog, I could hear him crashing through sticks and leaves and in general being about the worst tracker he could be. He's not a graceful dog to begin with, so I could tell he was using the "run through obstacles" option instead of the "avoid obstacles" option.

Meanwhile, one deer had peeled itself from the group and veered away from the woods and back into the meadow. This is the one that Casey decided to pursue. Her legs are longer, and she's pretty agile, so it was awesome to watch her keep up with the deer as it zigged and zagged across the field. She never gained any ground, but she was definitely hanging in there. Eventually her deer went into the woods also, and she followed.

For a while, everything was quiet while I waited. I counted the seconds in my head to keep myself from freaking out. "...fifty-nine....sixty. It's only been a minute. Everything is fine. Sixty-one...sixty-two..."

Off in the distance, so small that they appeared to be no more than an inch tall, a deer appeared followed by a brown and white blur, then disappeared back into the woods. I paced and waited. After learning my lesson previously, I remained in the last place the dogs had seen me and waited for them to return.

Almost exactly five minutes after they had run off, both dogs appeared heading towards me from opposite directions. Casey was panting and bounding towards me. She almost barreled into me, but dodged at the last minute. On her return trip to me, she jumped up in the air to show me how much fun she had just had. She was almost saying, "Do it again mom! Bring the deer back again!!!" Blue, on the other hand, slowly walked towards me and fell over on his side as soon as he reached me. All I heard from him were snorting gasps while he attempted to catch his breath through the huge grin on his face. I could not stop laughing. For the rest of the walk, no leashes were needed since the dogs remained within twenty feet at all times.

Ever since that day, we've gone back to the field several times, and each time the routine is the same. Dogs see deer. Dogs chase deer. Dogs return exhilarated and exhausted. Emily is thrilled. (Though she's always careful NOT to let the dogs go if she sees fawns...) I've been trying to take pictures, but my camera is too slow....all you see are blurs :-) Lately, I think the deer are no longer frightened of Blue (who will never catch them, but NEVER fails to chase them if given the chance.) They will see him coming, wait until I'm sure they can see the whites of his eyes, and then run away. Poor Blue either doesn't understand that he has no chance, or simply doesn't care. I think it's the latter. To him, the running is worth it. Casey doesn't seem to be as driven. Sometimes she'll chase the deer. Other times she'll see them and it's almost like she thinks, "Meh. Not worth it."

I realize that it's an odd way to relieve stress, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The fact that I'm outside in the beautiful fall weather, coupled by the fact that this is cheap entertainment, coupled with the fact that I'm certain the dogs will never catch a deer...well, it's more fun than memorizing all the bones in the human body....

So what do you do to relieve stress? Any other cheap easy suggestions that may or may not involve dogs?

(Oh yes, and thanks for all of the suggestions for studying... I've made flash cards in the past with mixed results, so I'm trying them again. And I searched for online quizzes, but mostly found multiple choice options. What I need are "fill in the blank." Any other ideas to help memorization are greatly appreciated. As of now, I carry my flash cards everywhere. Yep. I'm pretty cool...)