Thursday, December 30, 2010


I'm reading a really good book right now. I know I'm late to the party with this one, but it really is a very good, engrossing book with several discussion points. And I'm not even through the entire trilogy yet. By the end, my book club is going to be BEGGING me to shut up, but it's totally their fault that I'm reading these books in the first place.

The Golden Compass has several areas that I would love to discuss in detail, but the one that strikes me the most is the idea of 'daemons.'

I'm torn on how to say the word to myself. Is it "daymon" or "deemon?" Since the idea isn't an evil one, I usually settle on "daymon."

In the book, everyone has a daemon. In a nutshell, daemons are an animal form that is sort of a physical manifestation of a person's soul. I would compare them to a witch's familiar, but that's not quite right. The way the link between the human and their daemon is described is deeper than that. It's described in such a way that the two can not live (sort of) if separated. The animal form that your daemon takes is a reflection of the sort of person you are. You feel each other's feelings and hear each other's thoughts.

I am fascinated by this idea. Fascinated. Think about how much easier life would be if there was no need to pretend? If who you are and, to some extent, how you feel were on display all the time? zlionsfan is much more cynical than I am and says that the world wouldn't change much if daemons really existed. People would still try to pretend to be something they're not. I choose to believe otherwise. Because so many people behave in a certain manner based on their insecurities. (I'm not excluding myself here.) And all that energy is just...wasted. There's a passage in the book between the main character and an advisor where main character asks what happens if a person doesn't like the shape their daemon takes. The response is:

"Well, then, you're discontented, en't you? There's plenty of folk as'd like to have a lion as a daemon and they end up with a poodle. And 'till they learn to be satisfied with what they are, they're going to be fretful about it. Waste of feeling, that is."

I LOVE this. I think it would be so much easier to accept who you are and how people see you if there was a physical manifestation that couldn't be hidden. Because you can always tell when someone is acting out of insecurity. When they're so sensitive to criticism or attention because they're so afraid of being seen as something other than what they want. And that makes me sad every time. It takes a long time to learn to love yourself. I know I'm still working on it. It would be so much easier with a daemon.

I mean, it would suck if your daemon were a... shrew, for instance. And you thought that you were a... Persian cat, maybe. But still, there are good points to being a shrew. I can't think of any right now, but EMBRACE your shrew-ness. It will make you happier in the long run*.

But enough of the serious stuff. The point here is that Candy, zlionsfan and I spent a better portion of Christmas return trip home discussing what our daemons would be. It was fun, and I won't reveal theirs, but I will say that I didn't get far from the bulldog that the boy already said I was. I was upgraded slightly to a pit bull, and I think I'm okay with that. I mean, can I choose which pit bull? Because Casey and Blue are like night and day. And realistically, I'm pretty sure my characteristics would mirror Casey, but boy, is Blue pretty.

Slightly related - the boy and I did our annual Christmas letters again this year, and in his letter, he rescinded the bulldog analogy and upgraded (??) me to a pit bull as well. And this was without knowing the conversation that had occurred on the drive home from Christmas.

Well, at least I don't have to worry about having an underbite anymore.

I'm curious to know what you would think YOUR daemon would be? I don't usually solicit comments, but if you read this and you know, tell me. I would love to hear.

*For any shrews who may be reading this and don't know me personally, this paragraph was written completely in jest. I am well aware that there are good characteristics to shrews and I mean no offense.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


So I'm still alive. And as predicted, the entire situation resolved itself approximately four hours after the blog was posted.

My boss had left for the day, and it was only my co-worker and I wrapping up the remaining business issues for a Friday. Since I had no plans for the evening, I was taking my time in getting stuff done, and stalking my new favorite website.

Backstory - a friend of mine applied to veterinary schools last cycle. There's a website that is a forum of pre-med students of all types, with forums dedicated specifically to each different profession. Pre-vet students will go to the veterinary forum and share hopes, fears, and, more importantly, rejection/admission/interview invitation information. My friend told me about this website last year, and she would come to class with stories like, "this person got an interview to Tufts! I didn't get one yet. That's not good news." I distinctly remember admonishing her, "You can NOT check that website over and over! You'll drive yourself crazy."

Flash forward to this year when I'M applying to vet schools. Do you think I can take my own advice? Negative Houston. I was perpetually checking that site, hitting refresh, and reading every thread in case someone posted information in the wrong place. I dutifully posted my first (expected) rejection when it came through, and I was sad when invitations to that school came through a few days later.

So on Friday, I was refreshing my favorite website, and I noticed that the thread for my in-state vet school option showed up with a new post. Sure enough, someone had posted that they had gotten an email with an interview invitation.

The words that came out of my mouth were not pretty. I copied the post and went to my email account to send it to my two therapists during this difficult time.

There was a new email waiting, and it was an interview invite.

I flipped out. Literally flipped out. When I called my mother, she didn't initially know who it was. Z also admitted later that he understood the word "interview" but not much else. My cousin was the one who finally helped calm me down with the words, "Honey, I can't understand you when you're sobbing like that," and she got to talk to me AFTER the screaming had subsided.


The biggest thing that I feel is a sense of relief. Even if I don't get in, I got an interview. I'm not crazy and vet schools might actually be interested in letting me become a vet. Because for all this time, the nagging thought in my back of my mind has been that I'm wasting all of this time and money on something that's never going to happen. This invitation? Helps. A lot. It brings back all of that clueless optimism I felt about this journey before things like organic chemistry happened.

So to anyone who's considering this sort of life change? I suggest you not give up. You never know what will happen, and I would HATE to have anyone sitting at home saying "What if?"

So now I'm off to prepare for the first interview I've had in about six years (and probably the most important interview I'll ever have.) Oh, and to buy a suit. Because, you know, I KEPT my suits from job interviews, but, um, they seem to have shrunk. Hmmm.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Did you get in?

It feels like my entire life right now revolves around that one question.

Did I get in?

(For the record, I don't know yet.)

Last week I called my mom and dad to tell them about the fantastic company Christmas dinner I had just gone to. I started the conversation with, "Oh my gosh, mom, I have GOT to tell you something!" It wasn't until I heard her intake of breath and the pause after my statement that I realized my mistake. "Oh, sorry. No, not THAT yet. I still don't have any news on THAT."

This morning, after an evening filled with fantastic conversations with two of my favorite people, I called my boss on the way in to work and said, "Good morning! I was just heading to Subway for a breakfast sandwich and I wanted to know if my FAVORITE boss wanted one too?"

His response was "You're in a good mood! Did you get in or something?"

It took me a moment to understand. Get in? Like, to work? I mean, the roads aren't THAT snow covered. And I have 4WD. Of course I would get in.

And then I understood. "Oooh. No. I don't know anything yet."

Waterboarding has nothing on this kind of psychological torture.

Rumor has it that acceptance/rejection letters were coming out this week. I woke up on Monday just KNOWING that I didn't get in. I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would take my last final on Thursday, and then drive home to a rejection letter in my mailbox that afternoon. I was so certain that when I saw the letter in my mailbox from a credit card company, my brain was CONVINCED that the return address read "Purdue University."

The relief that I felt when I realized it was a Chase logo literally made me weak in the knees.

Originally I thought that this weekend would be a weekend of drinking. Regardless of the outcome of my veterinary school application, I would be drinking to celebrate the end of the semester, and to drown my sorrows/celebrate my acceptance. Now? I've decided that this isn't an alcohol-inducing situation. It's more along the lines of a Ben & Jerry inducing situation. When I told my boss this with an air of acceptance, my boss likened my changing emotions to the stages of grief.

You know what? He's kind of right. You know...minus the whole death thing.

1. Denial"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions and individuals that will be left behind after death.

Whatever. This isn't happening. What application? Am I waiting on something? I am not avoiding my email. I just don't check it very often during the day.

2. Anger – "Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.


3. Bargaining – "Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."

If they let me in, I'll go to church in thanks every Sunday for a whole year! I'll be the best vet ever! I'll save all KINDS of homeless animals!

4. Depression – "I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.

There's no point. I'm never going to get in. They're just going to reject me. My hopes and dreams will be crushed. My GPA/GRE score/personal statement/qualifications isn't/aren't good enough. I was stupid to even think of trying this. My life sucks.

5. Acceptance – "It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his mortality or that of his loved one.

Whatever, dude. I'm totally going to Sicily if I don't get in. And I'm stocking the freezer with Ben and Jerry's for the inevitable crushing blow. Do your worst, admissions people! I am ready! I am prepared! You don't run my life! It's all going to be okay!! (just please let me in, okay?)

The hardest part for me (for reals, yo. This is like real emotion-type stuff right here) will be having to tell people that I didn't get in if that is, in fact, what happens. I know that pride goeth before the fall...yada yada yada. But if I could TELL the pride to go away, I would. What it does right now is make it very very difficult to admit weaknesses. It's not that I want to appear perfect. It's just that I don't like to fail. So generally, if I want something a whole whole lot, I make DAMN sure I get it. (If there was a dislike button on failure, I would click it over and over.)

My other coping mechanism? If I want something I can't control, I don't talk about it to many people. Because if I don't get it? Meh. I only have to deal with the crushing blow myself.

But this? This wasn't something that I could really keep to myself. I mean, people were going to ask why I went back to school. People have asked how I'm doing. Friends have kept close tabs on where I am in my journey, and right now I'm at the point where the situation is literally out of my control.

It's awful.

If I don't get in, I'm not sure how people can react that wouldn't be terrible. The pity? The awkward, "sorry I asked, here are some token words to make it better?" The hug? (FYI - that one will make me cry. Don't do it unless you want your shirt wet.)

And what can I say? "Oh well. There's always next time. I knew this would happen. No big deal?"

Problem is, everyone KNOWS it's a big deal. Including me. And honestly, I'm terrified right now. Ugh.

(I am fully aware that by writing this blog, the universe will make sure the situation is resolved in one way or another within 24 hours so then I have either post a retraction of all this freaking out, or a depressing "my life is over" blog. Be prepared.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2010


I'm a storyteller, have no doubt. Nothing makes me happier than when something ironic or hilarious happens to me, and I get to tell the story to my friends complete with hand waving, dramatic pauses and maybe some exaggeration - all for comedic effect. I love to make my friends laugh and to achieve this, nothing about my life is sacred.

But I'm stumped when it comes to getting others to talk.

Not about the weather or about day-to-day life. No, nothing like that. When put in a situation where I feel someone may be uncomfortable or left out, I am compelled to engage almost anyone in a conversation that will make them feel more comfortable and involved. I can almost always find a common thread with someone if not with myself, then with one of my very diverse and extraordinary friends.

I mean getting someone to tell the stories that everyone has to tell.

During the Thanksgiving weekend, my father talked about his past in a greater detail than I had ever heard. It was awesome, eye-opening, hilarious, and so so interesting. I wish I knew what perfect storm of conditions occurred to prompt this storytelling because I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Was it because I had friends there? Friends who could keep their heads about them and ask questions that I surely wouldn't have thought of? (And assuredly would have KICKED myself for not asking once the moment had passed?*) Was it because of the martini he had to drink? Was it because of the late hour of the night? Was it because we had all just shared such a spectacular time together? I don't know that I'll ever figure it out, but I'm so glad I was there.

And yet, I keep coming back to the question of how to get that to happen? How do I go about following the recipe for that perfect storm of conditions? I mean, my father discussed events that I had no idea had ever occurred, so it's not like I could have asked specific questions about a time in his life that I didn't know anything about. Maybe I just need to ask questions like, "What was high school like for you?" more often. Because seriously? Fascinating.

And by the way - did you know that parents had these whole other lives before their children were born? True story. I've examined and enjoyed this new dynamic of interacting with parents as an adult before, but I'm not sure I'm completely over the fascination of it. Maybe because it has happened so suddenly and maybe because it has nothing to do with me having children. (Isn't that usually the rite of passage that changes things between the new parents and the previous generation? Or is it marriage?) More often than not when I ventured back into the land of my childhood, I found myself frustrated and upset by falling back into the role of teenage-Emily. Lately, I've made more of an effort to express myself more clearly and remain the "adult" I know I am when living on my own - and to interact with my parents as that person. I think having my friends around (who never knew teenage Emily) helped make that change permanent.

Totally worth losing 3-5 mpg taking that gigantic suitcase to Southern Indiana, btw.

Also, this post by Candy made me really appreciate having my parents and enjoying every second I have with them. I did, in fact, take pictures of us playing Mexican Train dominoes. Unfortunately, being Emily, I left the pictures on my dad's camera to be retrieved on a subsequent visit.

So do yourself a favor and call your parents soon, if you can. Have a drink with them and just talk - as a friend, not as a parent. How often does that happen? If it feels different, just ignore it and push through. The rewards are so so worth it.

* Shout out to Candy for her fantastically detailed questions!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Best. Thanksgiving. Ever.


I don't use that word much. But this year? I felt truly blessed. I mean, it could have been the gallon of sangria that I drank over the four days that I was at my parents' house, but I think the feeling of loving the whole world was present before the sangria. The sangria just helped me express it. (Over and over and over.)

I'm not exaggerating about the sangria.

In a fit of insanity on their parts, two friends agreed to accompany me to the parental homestead for the Thanksgiving feast. We all fit into one car (with the dog) despite the best efforts of one of us (who shall remain nameless) who brought a suitcase the size of Rhode Island.) We played Rock Band. And ate pie. One of us shot a crossbow. One of us made fudge. One of us made a perfect apple pie. We helped with Christmas decorations. We played Mexican train dominoes. And we laughed. And laughed. And then laughed some more.

The toast that I gave on Thanksgiving went something like, "To good friends and loving family who, in the best of both worlds, are one and the same."

I am so lucky to be surrounded by so many people that I love and who love me in return. It made for a perfect weekend.

I will do my best to post more details in the upcoming days. Don't think that the Rhode Island-sized suitcase is getting off THAT easily.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Radio Silence

I keep putting off posting a new blog. Not that there's nothing to talk about, just that I can't seem to find anything around which I would like to build a blog. (I really like the phrase "build a blog" btw. I keep saying it over and over.)

Anyhow, in light of this reluctance to blog, I have decided that I will post random snippets to help out any blog readers I have left (hello? are you out there?) who happen to be bored and searching for entertainment. (oh, and also? My most vocal blog prodder just had twins - one of which is named Emily, ahem - so that's why she hasn't been prodding me much lately.)

* Fall has cometh and with it I have a healthy dog again. Woot! Her coat is beautiful, her eyes are no longer red rimmed, AND she's losing weight. What. A. Relief. I know this happens every year, so it's no surprise, but it is always a relief. The summer months must be terrible for her, and, like any good mother, I hate to see that. Luckily, we seem to have stumbled upon a drug regimen that might help stave off her symptoms next year even while keeping her in a zombie-like state. Still, zombie dog > monster dog. Keep your fingers crossed.

* With the onset of cold weather, Casey has started this new behavior that is disturbing only because it shows how smart she is. I like to keep my house cold at night and Casey sleeps in the bed with me. During the night we move apart because we both need our own space, but as soon as she hears my alarm go off in the morning, she get up, stretches, then cuddles up right next to my stomach. It's like the worst snooze button in the world. Seriously. I haven't been on time once since the cold set in.

* I know that news about vet school admission won't come until December, but I can't help but tense up each time I check the mail these days. Just reject me and get it over with already! I'm resigned to the fact that I'll have to try again. I promise. It's the waiting that I can not bear.

* Remember when I got my ears pierced? Yeah. It turns out that it takes less time to heal from a tattoo than it does for me to heal from these stinking piercings. There is one in particular that seems to be testing me in a battle of wills, and it's not the "weird" one. I got my tragus pierced, as well as three more lobe piercings. So in total, I have three piercings in each ear - two in my left lobe + the tragus, and three in my right ear. The third one in my right ear just does NOT want to heal. It's like my ear is saying, "Look, bitch - we lived just fine with one piercing in this ear for thirty-two years, and now you want three? We'll just see about that." ARGH. I think I knew I would have trouble with this coming into it given that my ears seem sensitive to anything other than 24-carat gold. But five months later?! Argh, I tell you. Argh.

* This semester of school is my first one without organic chemistry since this time last year. This is both a blessing and a curse. Blessing because I can actually succeed in these classes. Curse because I find myself thinking, "Study? I don't need to study. I am too smart for these classes." Yeah. After my first round of tests I went through the whole "Thank you, Lord, for teaching me humility" ritual.

* Do you know what you should never do? Look up your boyfriend's ex-girlfriend on Facebook. It doesn't matter how secure you feel about your life and relationship - nothing good can come of this.

* I did not do anything for Halloween this year save ogle my friend's children in their adorable costumes. It was a pretty relaxing holiday. I fear this is the onset of old age.

* I completed my last bike ride of the season on October 30th. The wind was just as terrible as another ride I did. Still, I got a free beer at the end of the ride to celebrate, so that took some of the sting off. And that ride brought my mileage total for the summer to 1353 - way beyond the goal I set. That was a nice achievement. Now to move on to the next one.

* Right. We had our second annual reunion for those who studied abroad in Costa Rica this past month. It was fantastic and I could blog about it forever. Seriously. These people astound me, and the fact that they are my friends is continually amazing. And so it was the perfect storm when we stumbled upon this relay race, and they all immediately wanted to put a team together. Nevermind that I dislike running. Nevermind that I haven't run a mile in over three years. I respect these folks and they threw down a challenge. "Challenge Extended" to quote Barney Stinson. I have no choice but to accept. So if you weren't ready for this blog to become a bunch of complaining about the horrors of running, prepare yourself now.

* I've never mentioned this before, but the one thing that I will always have from the boy (should this relationship end) is an outstanding collection of outerwear. Seriously. For the last few Christmases and Birthdays (beginning with the trek to Peru, come to think of it) the boy has gifted me with more coats and jackets than I thought were available for purchase. This one for cold weather above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. This one for cold weather below 40 degrees. This one for cold weather with precipitation. This one for warmer weather with precipitation. This one for riding my bike in the rain. It's ridiculous. I had to put a stop to it after the last one because, really, do I seem like a girl who would ride her bike in the rain? Still, I guess I am completely covered for any sort of weather patterns I should ever face. Ever.

* Next semester I will only have one final class to complete, and it's only two credit hours. That's the fewest credit hours I've taken since I started this endeavor in fall of 2007. Holy Cow. That's both terrifying and exciting. Exciting because, woo hoo I'm almost done! Terrifying because I've reached the end of things that I can control in my quest to be a vet. Now we just cross our fingers and wait, yes? Please think good thoughts...

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Wind Blows

I've been biking this summer. I think I may have written about it a time or two. The official goal of the summer was to ride 1000 miles. I accomplished that early and easily. The unofficial goal of the summer was to complete the 100 Km course of the Great Pumpkin Metric.

I did not discuss this unofficial goal for a couple of reasons. First, I wasn't sure I would accomplish it. Stubborn or not, there comes a point where you can't pedal anymore. I almost hit that point when we did a 50-mile ride, so I was dubious about completing a 62-mile ride in Southern Indiana. With hills. Second, the Great Pumpkin Metric is held in my hometown. I was equal parts excited and stressed-as-hell about bringing my Indianapolis family down to meet my Evansville family. I didn't really want to explore the source of the stress or the possibilities of the nuclear explosions that could have occurred had my worst fears played out.

Instead it was fantastically awesome.

I mean, not all of it was fantastically awesome of course. Riding 65 plus miles into a wind that seemed to be a headwind in all directions was pretty sucky. Riding that ride in 41 degree weather that only warmed up to 61 degrees was also not fun. In fact, I wasn't entirely convinced that we weren't going to ride the 50 Km route until we actually passed the spot where the two routes diverged. (I don't have a picture of that spot, so you'll have to make do with this one that I stole.) Luckily zlionsfan was unshakable in his belief that we were going to ride 100 Km, so when the time came to make the fateful turn, I didn't even have time to get off my bike and take a picture to document the occasion. I just had to pedal faster to catch up to him and ask him if he was sure? I mean, we could always do the 50 Km, and if we have enough energy, do the 50 Km route again.

Nope. We were doing the 100 Km route.

At first it wasn't terrible. Then, somewhere around 35 miles I found out that singing was the best defense I had against the ache in my legs. I went to my happy place and, as I later told my father, apparently my happy place is filled with John Denver. Or maybe those are most of the songs that I know the words to, given that my father has been singing them to me since birth. Regardless, I was singing to distract myself from the discomfort. That continued until the end of the route, though at the end I was singing mostly to myself since I couldn't find the energy to sing out loud.

I do like to pretend that I can sing.

So that part was not so fun. I mean, the feeling of accomplishment was awesome, and the scenery was gorgeous. It was just that pesky wind. I even penned a letter to the wind while we were riding.

Dear Wind,
This ride is difficult enough without you in my face. Go blow yourself.

I still think we'll do it again next year.

Other than that, my parents seemed to enjoy the company of my Indianapolis family. And why not? They are intelligent, funny, nice, silly people who are fully capable of laughing at themselves. Those are all qualities that are highly valued in my family. And my Indianapolis family? Well, they seemed to have fun as well. Although I'm sure the dominoes, bbq, and Fall Festival food did not hurt. Me? I drowned my stress in sangria. It seemed to work out alright. We might even do it again sometime.

Okay. I downplay. It was a great weekend for me. I could have stayed forever. I mean, what was there not to love? There was no stress. This, in and of itself would have been a great respite following my vet school application submission, but in addition to that, save the absence of the boy (who had to work,) I was surrounded by all the people that I love and they were all getting along. Everyone who knows every little dark corner of me (in Indiana*) was in one room and not only were we all laughing, I beat them all in dominoes. Whilst drinking copious amounts of sangria. What more could I have asked for? It was like the best possible meeting of two worlds. I think both sides learned interesting things that they can use for blackmail later. (but they won't, cuz they loooooooooove me. :-)

As a result, coming back to the real world was a bit of a letdown. Strike that. Coming back to WORK was a bit of a letdown. So now we start crossing our fingers for that vet school application thing. Good thoughts are appreciated. I promise to keep you updated one way or another.

And I would say that the bike is being put away until next year, but I found out that there's this other ride. And it involves beer. That can't possibly end badly, can it?

*There are others, but they're scattered across the US. I figure I won't get the entire group together until something truly important happens. Like, say, a vet school graduation?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Poop and relationships

One of the things I must do on my application for vet school is to write a personal statement. This statement must be no more than 5000 characters in length and should explain the journey that I've taken in my decision to become a veterinarian, and what experiences and circumstances make me unique.

You guys, I thought I would rock this. Seriously. I mean, I write a blog. I write about myself all. the. time.

Um, you may or may not have noticed, but my style of writing is....wordy. As in, I like to use a lot of words. You know, for emphasis. I like to go over and over a point to make sure everyone understands it with the depth of passion that I do. This particular trait does not marry well with a character limit of 5000 (with spaces!)

So I just wrote my story and then edited. Or, more specifically, zlionsfan helped me edit. Then I redid some of his edits and made my statement too long again. Then I re-edited MY edits, and, well... now I have a statement that I feel is choppy and sounds like a toilet being flushed.

Still, I've emailed it to a couple of people whose opinions I trust (never fear, cousin, I'm coming after you next) and as I anxiously await their feedback (they are not early morning people) I am mildly freaking out about my personal statement, my future and of course, my life in general.

I never said melodrama didn't have a place in my life.

So, a few days ago I was having a mini-pre-writing-my-personal-statement breakdown. I had this particular breakdown in the car with the boy. After venting all of my fears and frustrations, the boy sat silently. I turned to him and said, "Now is the point in the conversation where you say pretty words to make me feel better. Sort of like zlionsfan does."

He thought for a second and said, "You shouldn't freak out."

He said no more. No matter how much I harassed him (which was plenty) no more comfort was forthcoming. He is not zlionsfan, he said. And apparently I didn't really need comfort for my theatrics. He felt no need to coddle me.

(Don't worry - this is all related.)

Last night the boy stopped by after work to check in on my personal statement. I was in the midst of erasing my fifteenth draft, and I won't lie - I wasn't in a good place. I mean, it wasn't the depths of despair that organic chemistry brought to me, but it wasn't happy-go-lucky either. The boy sat silently, read what I had written, gave me feedback and then left.

But then this morning? We had the following text exchange. (And I swear to you, I haven't altered a single word.)

E: It is written and it is crap. I may as well poop on a piece of paper and submit that instead.

B: poop WOULD be an attention grabber

E: Hmmm. Maybe I dismissed that option too quickly...

B: there you go... I mean... nothin' says "Look at MY application" like a big pile of shit.

E: Soft smeary shit, or hard little turds? Ooooh, what about corn poopies? It shows that I eat my veggies...

B: it shouldn't be your shit... it should be some kind of exotic animal shit to show how much you care about animals... the more exotic the shit, the more you care.

E: Tasmanian Devil?

B: black mamba... invokes a little fear into the panel

E: Black Mamba like Kobe Bryant, or like the snake? Honestly, I can't decide which is scarier...

And just like that, I was laughing. Not brooding and sulking, but actually laughing. And now I can re-read what I've written for the gazillionth time with an editing eye, instead of despair and hopelessness. Because maybe sometimes? I want to be coddled, but what I need is to be reminded that life is not so serious. That perhaps I may be overreacting. And that while I'm allowed some of that, I need to snap out of it and get shit done. And sometimes you get what you need instead of what you want. (Wouldn't that be a great song?)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I have difficulty believing that a visit to the Dr. is nothing more than a waste of time

I guess I should qualify that. Kids get sick and should see the doctor. The doctor can generally make them better. Bones get broken and the doctor fixes them. People are in terrible accidents and doctors can sometimes perform miracles. Brain tumors and cancers? Ditto. Doctors are fantastically skilled miracle-workers, have no doubt.

So when I woke up on Thursday with incredible dizziness that I had never experienced before, I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. Stuffy nose? Familiar territory. Headache? Psh. Achy body? Fever? Chills? Who hasn't been through that. But dizziness? With no alcoholic consumption involved? I was rattled.

The dizziness continued throughout the day until a wonderful suggestion by someone with chronic ear infections. Sudafed. Apparently this would help drain my Eustachian tubes and stave off the symptoms until I could see a doctor. As an ear infection novice, I learned that inner ear infections are terrible terrible beasts that don't hurt until they HURT. So my advisor recommended that I still see the doctor. Which I did. I actually looked up a GP, made an appointment and everything. Look at me grow!

Uncontrollable dizziness is not something you mess with in my world. We like control in my world. And if I can't stop the dizziness, not even by concentrating and forcing myself to walk in a straight line? Rattled.

The Sudafed worked miracles. By the time my doctor's appointment rolled around on Friday, I was just starting to feel the deep down cottony effects of the Sudafed wearing off. Thankfully, the dizziness had not returned. I got to my appointment on time, got a thorough check-out by the doctor, and voiced my concerns and what drove me to visit. My blood pressure was checked, checked again, and checked again in a variety of positions. Perfect.* My ears were checked. And checked again. My breathing was listened to. Finally it was determined that I had a minor ear infection, but nothing that would seem to cause dizziness. Diagnosis = uncertain. I was given antibiotics, had blood drawn (over STRENUOUS objections. I had just had blood drawn by another doctor three months prior!) and told to visit again in a week.

It took me about 24 hours to fill my prescription, but fill it I did. (The pharmacy on a Saturday afternoon is a WHOLE 'NOTHER blog.) I even remembered to take my gigantic pink horse pills as prescribed.

So then why on EARTH did I wake up this morning feeling like I got hit by a truck filled with snot? Seriously, it's like the antibiotics only made the snot monster in my head ANGRY and he is now exacting his revenge on my sinuses. I feel WORSE now (albeit, sans dizziness) than before I went to the doctor.

At least this stuffy head/headache/raspy throat/no voice thing is familiar territory? Bright side? Maybe?

I'm still disturbed by the memory of the dizzy. And I guess I would feel better if an actual cause for the dizziness was given. Or if I didn't feel like a Mack truck ran me over last night. I've heard arguments that a visit to the doctor is about confirming peace of mind. That at least it's nothing serious. But I got an uncertain diagnosis, so....

Sigh. Just consider this my yearly I-am-sick-so-I-shall-whine post. Only this time I spent money to go to the doctor first. At least the blog when I get my bill should be fun, yes? I already feel sorry for the doctor that I will see again on Friday. Pity him, my friends.

*Take THAT all of you "you shouldn't eat so much salt, Emily" people!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Imagined Conversations

Casey: (sigh) So glad you're back, Blue. It's always a joy. So tell me again, when are you going home? Erm, I mean, how long are you staying?

Blue: OMG! I am so happy to be here! It's so good to see Original Mom again!! And you Casey!!! I've missed you too! The only bummer is this crate thing during the day.

Casey: Yeah, I've missed... Wait, what do you mean, "this crate thing?" This is what dogs do! We wait until our parents come home at the end of the day. Mom just likes us to wait in our crates so that we don't torment the cat. And you know we would if we could...

Blue: Nuh uh!! There's this place called "Heavensville" and if you live there, you are never in your crate. And you live with TWO cats.

Casey: Never?

Blue: Never ever. And your parents are always home. And you get to sleep on the couch. Or in the bedroom. Or wherever you want! And your dad? He gives you treats at least once a day. Sometimes more!

Casey: (wonderingly) Once a day... Amazing.

Blue: And when the parents are done with dinner, dad cuts up all the leftovers and mixes them with your food! New Mom yells at him not to do that, but he does it anyway. He's awesome.

Casey: Really? Isn't dad that big guy who yelled at me when I came in the door?

Blue: Um, you broke through the screen.

Casey: Who makes a door out of screen? I mean, it's so fragile! You can barely see it. I didn't even notice it was there.

Blue: What about the plexi-glass that was behind the screen? You know, the one that dad put there after you used that excuse last time?

Casey: ...

Blue: That's why Original Mom doesn't like bringing you to "Heavensville" you know.

Casey: Whatever. Mom takes me with her every time she goes.

Blue: Oh yeah? What about those weekends where you get to spend "quality time" with the boy? Where do you think Original Mom goes then?

Casey: ...

Blue: Anyway, this place is fine. I love seeing you guys, and Original Mom gives us that yummy peanut butter. It's even better than the treats in "Heavensville." Too bad we don't get it very often.

Casey: Mom says it will make us fat.

Blue: Speaking of that... You're looking... healthy.

Casey: What are you saying?

Blue: Oh, nothing. I just heard New Mom asking Original Mom what had happened to you. That you used to be so slim.


Blue: (snort)

Casey: What the..? It's not like you're really that fit yourself, you know. I don't know what you're doing when you're not in your crate, but it's certainly not running. Don't think I didn't see you collapse on the grass after our 50 yard sprint on Sunday.

Blue: You mean that sprint where original mom managed to run faster than either of us?

Casey: I know, right? Shameful. We're not puppies anymore...

Blue: Anyway, to answer your original question, I'm here until October 1st.


Blue: Yeah. Why?

Casey: Oh... um... no reason... It's just... Um... Laney will be upset that there are two dogs in the house for that long.

Blue: What are you talking about? Laney LOVES me. I never chase her. I learned how to treat cats from living in "Heavensville."

Casey: Quit bragging about "Heavensville," jerk! Living here is awesome.

Blue: Sure... awesome. Wait until you try the new treats that dad sent home with Original Mom. You will freak out. That is... if she ever gives them to us.

Casey: She will. Especially if she's going to go biking while you're here. Here's what you do... when she moves that giant thing on two wheels out of the living room, jump on the couch, flatten yourself as far down as you can, and look at her with "puppy dog eyes."

Blue: What will that do?

Casey: You'll see. We'll get ALL KINDS of goodies when she leaves.

Blue: Sweet.

Casey: Stick with me, kid. I'll teach you the ropes. Mom's a pushover if you know the right buttons. Crate or no crate, living here isn't so bad.

Blue: It's no "Heavensville" though.

Casey: Will you shut up?!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pop Quiz

Tell me, dear internets, what is this:

Plus this:

Minus this?:

That's right. Last night I surpassed 1000 miles on my bike for the summer. I'm pretty excited about it, and even more excited that it happened so far ahead of schedule. I was allowing myself until October to complete this goal. Woo to the Hoo!!

I mean, the OCD in me is still sort of twitchy because it's captured on two odometers instead of one, but that doesn't diminish the 1000 miles that I've ridden. In fact, last night I started toying with the idea of getting my new odometer (second picture) up to 1000 miles all by itself.

I know. I'm certifiable. But that's not a real goal yet, so don't hold me to it.

What I enjoy almost more than completing this goal is seeing how far I've come. Conquering Riley was a huge day, but since then I've found an even more hilly and difficult route and pretty much confirmed that I can complete it every time - with a faster pace each time. And surprisingly, in the midst of all this riding, a new goal of completing a ride of 100km (62 miles) in the rolling hills of my hometown has emerged. I'm not sure why - maybe because of the date of this ride, and maybe because of the difficulty of it - but I sort of feel like that ride will be both the peak of my bike riding season, and the last ride I do before winter. Right now I'm not only focused on completing that ride, but doing it in a reasonable amount of time. (My parents? They think I'm insane. I'm pretty sure they're going to have an ambulance on standby during that entire ride.)

It's terrifying, honestly. The hilliest ride I've found in Indy was difficult enough - I couldn't even complete it the first time. My hometown in southern Indiana has many more menacing hills. Eeeek!

Still, all I can do is try. And bolstered by my past successes, I would say "Outlook good." Cross your fingers for me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why I'm Going to Church on Sunday

I was sitting at my desk at work around 2:00pm today, wasting time on Facebook. My boss was in a meeting in the back with my coworker. It was a typically calm afternoon with nothing much to do. I was trying to figure out how to make the afternoon go by faster when the neighbor who lives next door to my office came to the front door.

"You've got a fire back there."

I blinked. "What?"

"The fence caught fire back there. It's right next to the garage."

Being the employee with the most seniority, I park my car in the garage.

I was already running.

I streaked back to the meeting room where I'm shocked that my boss understood anything I said. "Donthere'safirehurryyouhavetomoveyourbike!"

He jumped up like, he was on fire. I streaked back to my desk and grabbed my keys. By the time I got my keys and ran back to where the garage was, my boss had already pressed the button to lift the garage door.

The garage was indeed on fire.

The garage door actually ended up getting stuck about halfway up when the power failed. My boss ducked under the door and went to open the door manually. Unfortunately, with all the adrenaline, he ended up breaking the cord that controls the manual mechanism.

The door started to fall closed.

I wish I could say I was of some help here. But I wasn't. I stood and watched like I was made of wood.

From inside the garage, my boss slid under the door, caught it, and heaved it upwards.

The fire was eating through the wall to my right, and there was a thick layer of smoke along the ceiling.

My boss's Harley was closest to the flames. I motioned for him to go first. We could hear the fire truck sirens at this point. He walked his bike out and parked in the parking lot next to the garage.

Oh HELL no! Has he SEEN any movies? When I got my car out, trying to ignore the fire eating through the wall of the garage, I parked three doors down just to be safe. By the time I got back, the garage was engulfed in smoke and flames, and the firemen were hosing it down. I had been gone maybe 90 seconds.

The scene that I returned to looked like this:


All I can think about is that I never would have known until it was too late. My car is okay because of our neighbor. Our rock star neighbor. I shook his hand and thanked him profusely. He shrugged it off like he was just driving by and anyone would do it. Dude! You saved my car! I've already been through trauma with my car. I know how it feels. You're awesome! I feel like I should buy him a horse. Or a kingdom. With a castle. And THEN a horse.

I took more pictures as the fire died down. The Indianapolis Fire Department did an awesome job and showed up super quickly. More pictures below, the last one of what the garage ended up looking like in the end. We're not yet sure how the fire started. Just that no one was hurt, and everyone's vehicles were safe.

The wall that's missing? That's my boss's side of the garage. The side that today housed his beloved Harley. We were both so lucky. I have to go to church on Sunday because, well, I believe in thanking the people responsible when you're lucky. Either that or buying them a kingdom with a castle.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Key Privileges = Revoked

I've been cooking more lately. And honestly, I don't think the cooking can be categorized as either successes or failures. Sometimes everything tastes great, but I have TONS of leftover ingredients that will be left to languish in my refrigerator until they sprout legs of their own and walk themselves to the garbage can. Sometimes all ingredients are used and something is just barely undercooked. Or overcooked. Or basically inedible. I don't think I'm meant to be a homemaker.

I am, however, an expert at ordering take-out. I know THAT'S sexy.

You know what else I have trouble with when cooking? Trips to the grocery store. I mean seriously, if I ever remember to get everything that I need in one trip it will be the type of miracle only equaled by the creation of DOTS. And yes, I make lists. Unfortunately, my lists are faulty. If I manage to get everything needed for one meal, I forget the day-to-day items that I need. If I remember the day-to-day items, I inevitably forget an (important) ingredient. Or two.

Like now? I'm out of Liquid Plumr. Seriously. How does THAT happen? I can clog a shower drain faster than you can say erm...Drano. And toilet paper. I realized I was on my last roll on Saturday. Do you think I remembered to put it on my list when I went to the grocery store on Monday? Of course not. As of last night, I'm officially out. I thought I was going to be stuck going to the store for just toilet paper. A wasted trip. I guess I should be glad I ran out of Liquid Plumr this morning. Now the trip is a bit more justifiable. Does this happen to anyone else?

The boy, who never goes to the grocery store himself unless it's to visit the frozen meals section, thinks this is hilarious. He also has no problems reminding me "gently" when I'm out of something. "Sweetie, you need paper towels," and then "Why don't you have paper towels yet? It's been like a week since I mentioned it to you." Right, and I noticed that I was out a week before that. Thanks though. Hardy har har har. Wait, remember that time you had to "borrow" dog food from me because you didn't have any? Right.

I do like the way Karma works, though. Because today? I got a phone call. My fourth phone call of the day from the boy, actually. Which is rare. So I answered, "To what do I owe this pleasure?"

Apparently the boy had stopped by my house between jobs today because he had to use the restroom. And it wasn't to go number one.

My first thought was "EW!" combined with a feeling of complete violation. He had stopped by my house to take a dump?! What the hell? He's got his OWN place for that. Or he could wait until he got to work. I'm pretty sure that pooping at your girlfriend's place when she's not there is unacceptable, no matter how long you've been dating. (over six years, btw. eeeeek!) If you don't live there, I'm pretty sure unsupervised visits are only acceptable if you're leaving pretty flowers or doing the dishes or something of that nature. Unsupervised stops involving fecal matter are strictly prohibited.

Fortunately, the angry tirade was thwarted by my second thought which was, "I'm out of toilet paper."

So I didn't get to say anything in response. I was laughing too hard.

I think the lesson we all need to take away from this is that you should poop in your own home. Or at least in the home of someone more responsible.

When I was done laughing, I called the boy back. I told him that this would be a blog because, seriously, it's too funny not to be. He resignedly agreed. And by "resignedly" I mean I refused to bring him a roll of toilet paper until I got my way.

I can't make this stuff up, folks.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Life Lessons

Here's the thing. I'm a bit competitive. I think I may have blogged about it a time or two. In fact, this is the main motivator in my life. No joke. You see me dragging my feet over something I don't want to do? Make it into a competition. Done. It's just that simple.

Well, not really. Because I'm on to you. So it has to be made into a competition in a way that doesn't feel like you're manipulating me. The best way to get around this is to make it a competition with someone I dislike. Then, even if I feel you're manipulating me, I can't resist. I'm dead serious here. It's very sad. I can hear my cousin and z snickering about it right now.

But last year, my dear friend Candy taught me an important lesson about competition.

As part of her wellness team at work, Candy put together a team to walk in the Jingle Bell Run/Walk. I had run this 5K before and thought it was great fun, so I agreed to participate on her team.

The morning of the 5K dawned sunny, but cold. I was wearing at least three layers under my team shirt and a sock hat in an effort to stay warm. Still, the mood was festive as we looked at the colorful costumes around us. There were running reindeer, Christmas trees, and even a family that was dressed as a string of lights, each a different color and connected by a cord. They were pulling a wagon in which sat a child with a radio blaring Christmas music.

The trouble began when I found out that one of the teammates was planning on running the 5K. No big deal, right? Except that ANOTHER teammate wanted to be at the starting line to take his picture. And then wanted to come back and join the rest of the team to walk. The solution to this? He would wait at the start/finish line until the runners began, and then come back to where our team was huddled. We would wait for him to return before beginning the walk.

I was uneasy with this from the start. First, we were already huddled near the rear of the crowd of people participating. Second, once the starting bell rang, the entire mass of people surged forward... around us as we stayed frozen waiting for our teammate.

I tried to inch forward with the crowd, certain that our lost teammate would eventually find us, but Candy was oblivious to my pain, and insistent on staying right where we were. I took deep breaths as more and more people passed us on their way to the starting line.

"It's okay Emily. This is not a race. You are not in this to win. You don't have to be competitive all the time."

Finally, our teammate showed up. We were free to walk. WHEEE!

I'll admit, Candy was not happy with the pace that I set. We were already far enough back that I was uncomfortable, so I wanted to make up some ground. Our team stretched out as we each settled into our pace. When we came to a portion of the route that doubled back on ourselves, I was at once both dismayed at how far back we were, and relieved at the "safe" number of people behind us. At least we wouldn't be last.

As we finished the double back, Candy mentioned that she wanted to stop and get a picture of the rest of the team coming up behind us.

STOP?! I won't lie. I had to bite my tongue. Hard. Eeek!! Still, it wasn't my event, so stop we did. To take pictures. To POSE FOR PICTURES. It was the worst form of torture because Candy didn't even know what was happening.

More and more people passed us. The string of lights family? Yep. Passed us. Pulling a wagon. The end of the line drew near.

Oh HELL no. This was not going to happen. I set a quicker pace after the picture stop. Eventually Candy mentioned that we were walking a bit faster than she preferred and I was forced to confess what I was going through. She laughed at me. Thinking she was not competitive, she thought I was being ridiculous and slowed down. She had conversations with teammates and others around us. She was outgoing and friendly as is her nature. She was also completely unconcerned with the people passing us.

Meanwhile, I watched in despair as the radio playing Christmas music got further and further ahead. "This is not a race. It's okay to not be competitive." I chanted this internally as I walked.

In the end, we finished with only two people behind us. Third and fourth from LAST. OMG. It hurts to even type that now, almost eight months later. One lady behind us was telling us how much it meant to her to be able to walk in the arthritis walk since arthritis had been such a crippling disease in her life.

I felt for her. I really really did. But that was outweighed by the fear that she was going to pass us, so I avoided eye contact and kept walking.

When the results came in (that I'm not going to link to) and Candy sent them to me, I was relieved by two things. 1) I wasn't last, and 2) I came in ahead of Candy.

That's right. I said it. I was glad I beat my friend. The "non competitive one" who later recanted and expressed a desire to never finish that far down in the standings again. Uh huh. Who's competitive now??

Being last sucks. Being competitive is better. Lesson learned.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Surprisingly Team Jen

I don't know if it's because my parents are retired, or because I'm getting older and we talk about different things now, but I love that during this period I'm getting to see so much more of my parents' personalities. What I remember from growing up is probably typical of a parent/child relationship. My mother and I fought, and my dad - he was the silent enforcer of rules. As I got older, my father was the one whose standards I strove to live up to and my mother was the one who drove me crazy.

You know, typical teenage stuff.

Now I'm seeing new things and I can't decide if they've always been there and children/work/life got in the way of showing it as clearly, or if I was just too young to pay attention.

Like, my mom? She's got this volunteer/give back to the community streak that I can see in myself 100%. Looking back it's always been there, and I can now see it was in the twice annual purging of my closet for Goodwill event. But now? She's volunteering in several different places and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes because she has a particular skill set (Spanish-speaking) and sometimes because she enjoys the perks (ushering at auditoriums and being able to see plays/musicals for free.) I always knew we were alike, she and I, and I suspected that this was why we clashed so violently and so frequently, but it's nice to see that the softer sides of our personalities match up just as much as the harder sides. Who knew?

My dad is the more surprising personality that I'm learning about. He's always been quiet (and because of this, many boyfriends found him extremely intimidating.) He came home from work and didn't talk about his day or his achievements. He had his books and movies and he had his time to relax. He didn't talk much unless he had something important to say. Unfortunately for me, the important things that he had to say to me had to do with decisions I made that he didn't approve of. This is not to say that he didn't say nice things too (like, say, simultaneously embarrass the hell out of me/delight me by singing "Daddy's Little Girl" to me in the middle of a crowd of people) but the personality that I felt was more of an authoritarian parent than a "real" person. Now? Well, he's always been extremely generous and loyal to his loved ones, but he is done working. Done done. As well he should be, given he started working at the age of 12 or something ridiculous like that. He is not interested in volunteering, and after years of the rigid rules of the business world, he is now not interested in participating in events that he doesn't enjoy. I love that, because I can totally relate. He's also really bitingly funny and delights in making me uncomfortable. (Seriously? Dirty jokes from your dad?) He especially enjoys my surprise when he says or does something that I deem "out of character" for him. He acts all innocent like, "What, you didn't know this about me?" when we both know I didn't. Because really, do I know his character? To me he's always been a conservative business executive. But was this just his job, or is that his personality too?

This is a question I was faced with after a recent visit home and the following exchange:

Emily: (upon seeing Angelina Jolie on the cover of some magazine promoting 'Salt') "I can not believe how beautiful she is. I hate to say that, because it's so unoriginal, but I saw her on 'Inside the Actor's Studio' once, and she's every bit as gorgeous as this photo. And she wasn't even unintelligent. I mean, come on!"

Dad: "Yeah, but she treats Brad really badly. I think they should break up. Brad should get back together with that other girl, Jennifer."

Emily: (gets really quiet and studies her father intently) "Dad, um, how did you learn to say those words?"

Dad: (looks up in surprise) "What? I read things. I think that Jennifer Aniston was better for him. That Angelina girl is crazy."

Emily: (laughing out loud at this point) "Wonders never cease. Should I get you a 'Team Jen' tshirt?"

Shortly after this, he was musing how it's "not fair" that I don't plan on having children because I should have to go through what he went through/is going through. Which of course sparked a hilarious exchange between my parents when my mother piped in "What do you mean, what YOU went through?"

I have no idea what they're talking about, though. I was a perfect angel.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wherein I'm not as young as I think I am

I went home to visit my mother for her 66th birthday last week.

She's adorable, btw. I would post a picture, but in the spirit of semi-anonymity for her, I shall refrain. You'll just have to take my word on it. God willing I am that adorable when I am her age.

Anyhow - since it was her birthday, and my visit was my gift, I had zero plans. I would do whatever my mother wished. We would spend time together and have fun. This is mother/daughter bonding at its finest. And on Fridays my mother's schedule dictates that she goes to "water aerobics" with her friend DiDi.

When she asked me if I wanted to go with her, I didn't hesitate. Sure! I mean, I'm riding my bike 30 miles plus at a time and I can't take my bike with me when visiting, so this will be some exercise. Easy to handle exercise, but still. It will make me feel better about the pounds and pounds of home-cooked food that I was going to consume.

When we got to the class and I was introduced to the instructor, I mentioned that I was looking forward to the class, having never done water aerobics before. The instructor was quick to correct me. "Oh, this isn't water aerobics. It's the arthritis class."

Oh I've SO got this.

The class was easy and relaxing. A lot of gentle movements in the water, and a lot of random gossip flowing around the way little old ladies tend to do. I still had plenty of energy at the end of the class and decided to swim to the end of the pool and back. Breast stroke the way down, freestyle the way back. I got out of the pool relaxed and happy.

And all at once I was RAVENOUS. We got home and I told my mom that if we didn't eat soon, I was going to chew off my hand. She threw a snack sized bag of Doritos at me while we fixed lunch. It kept me from eating my own extremities. Barely.

After lunch, I retreated to my room to shower and dress for the day. I happened to catch the boy via text message and proceeded to exchange a couple of messages before I passed out cold. mid message. Mid. Text. Message.

For an hour and a half.

Like passed out. With my hair soaking wet and still in the cover-up dress that I had worn to "water aerobics." I woke up dazed and confused. Where was I? Wait, WHY was I so tired?

And then I realized that the only possible reason was the class we had taken that morning.

Which lead me to realize that little old lady water aerobics had kicked my ass.


My mother was thrilled to hear it. My father laughed out loud. Right. I don't see HIM doing the class. Hmph. I think I want a rematch. Without swimming that one lap, I'm pretty sure I would have been able to take the little old ladies...

Monday, July 19, 2010


This is the grave of poet James Whitcomb Riley.It is the highest point in Indianapolis. This hill is located in Crown Hill Cemetery. And it's located about a mile from my house.

Even though it's the highest point in Indy, it's difficult to grasp the magnitude of the hill it sits upon. The hill has many twists and turns. When you're standing at the bottom (which is still up a slight incline) you see this:And then, when you trudge up to the second left, you see this:And then, when you think you're in the home stretch, after you trudge even more slowly to the first right, you see this: (which is the steepest incline of the entire hill)But when you make it to the top, it's all worth it when you look down and see that you've conquered this:And it's even sweeter when you see this:But do you know when it's the sweetest?

After you've just ridden your bike all the way to the top for the very first time.

All the way to the top.

Without stopping.

On your bike.

Especially if, say, you've tried and failed several times in the past to ride your bike up the hill, and it's gotten to the point where the hill has become sort of a nemesis for you.

A nemesis that you've just made your bitch.

Today was a good day.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Riding Your Bike is not for Losing Weight

I heard a lady say this at the SAG stop on the very first organized bike ride that I participated in. She said it because the options for snacks at the pit stop were tiny bananas, tiny peanut butter sandwiches, tiny brownies and tiny cupcakes. Immediately after she said it, she popped a bite sized brownie in her mouth.

I was beginning to agree with her.

If I've learned one thing in the years of losing (and then finding) the same ten fifteen twenty pounds over and over again, losing weight is all about what you eat. I mean, sure, exercise is important, but you can exercise until the cows come home* and you won't lose nearly as much weight as if you alter your diet.

So with all this bike riding, I was not expecting to lose weight.

I have not been disappointed.

Though I have to say that things are.... different.

So the other day, when walking my dog, I passed my neighbor and waved hello.

I should take a break here to explain that I LOVE my neighborhood. Love it. Sure, it's on the edge of ghetto, but I was having this discussion the other day and someone described living in the city as "organic." That's a good word. It's organic. While I could do without the "Daaaaa-YUM!!!"s that come from the younger men in my neighborhood (seriously dudes, not the way to approach a woman with any sort of success) I do so love the elderly men. I have a sneaking suspicion that they call each other when I'm walking my dog because if I see the first guy on my route sitting on his porch, then I see each and every one of them. If I don't see the first guy, I rarely see any of them. (This tickles me to death.)

We have a casual friendship. I wave and say hello, we chit chat about the weather, about the regularity of my dog walking (they know I'm in school) etc etc. Sometimes I get introduced to family members.

Confession: I don't know any of their names. They call me "lady." It's that sort of "friendship."

So when I saw my neighbor the other day and waved, he responded with "It's just melting off!"

I was confused, "I'm sorry?"

"It's melting off!"

Here is where I started to laugh. "What is?"

"That extra weight!"

(Side note: Where else in the world could a man say that to a woman with no fear of getting his eyes scratched out? I'm not even sure I would take that very well from the boy.)

I'm full out laughing at this point. "But I haven't lost a pound!!!"

"Well then it's redistributing or something... you look great!"

I kept walking, and laughing, all the while composing the blog post in my head. That exchange made my day. Seriously. I could count on two hands the women I know who would have been highly offended by that conversation. (most of them not Emily favorites) But I enjoyed the straight forward manner of the entire exchange. High comedy.

Too bad I'm not sure I believe him. No joke that I haven't lost a pound, but exercise makes you feel better, and I have been wearing clothing that is a little more form fitting than usual. Plus it's summer and my arms have a killer tan from all the riding. (There is a definite link between level of tan and how thin you look. It's true. It's been scientifically proven.)

Speaking of which, here's an update. As of yesterday, I have ridden 481 miles. I'm a bit ahead of schedule, which is good. But that's the last picture of this odometer that you'll see because I kind of had to upgrade. Which means that I'll have to add totals from two odometers together to meet my goal which sort of bothers me (Helllloooooo type A!!!) but que sera. More on that tomorrow. Promise.

*See what I did there? That's from living in Indiana my entire life. UPenn, if someone from your prestigious university is reading this, that's enough reason right there to accept me into your program...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sometimes, I hate my job. I'm not going to lie. There are times that I talk about the redundancy of my job, and how a chimpanzee could probably be trained to do what I do. I complain about my boss, I complain about the pay...hell, some days there is nothing that could go right between the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.

But sometimes I need to stop and remember the perks of working for a small company. Perks like today. Because that picture? That picture is of my boss's desk. My boss is not AT his desk because he went home sick. And as employees of the company, well, we decided that we would use his monitor to stream the World Cup matches for the day. So, you know, there are no company resources going under-utilized. Because we wouldn't want the company resources to not be used to their maximum capabilities.

And things like that? Not to mention "two hour lunches" that may or may not have been taken to watch the USA games? I need to stop taking them for granted. Because on days like today, in weeks leading up to long holiday weekends, when the windows are open and soccer is on in the background? There's not much that could be better.

(Well, you know, I could be making more money....but who couldn't?)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Twice! In Two days!

I had my annual appointment with my doctor today.

I would go into all the reasons why I *heart* my doctor (who's technically my girly doctor, but has taken on the role of general practitioner... I'm not sure why ...) but I'll just get to the stinking point.

For what seems like the 10th year in a row, he asked me if I have any questions or complaints and I responded with the only one I ever have. I am So. Frigging. Tired.

All the time. Tired.

Now, I realize that my schedule is insane. I realize that I pack a lot into my day. I realize that I accomplish a lot. And maybe this is normal? Maybe I just need to take a weekend to do nothing.

But see, I feel like I HAVE taken weekends to do nothing. And I do not feel refreshed when I go back to the routine on Monday. I still feel tired. I mean, could sleep until noon every day if you let me. (and if you removed the guilt about things that need to get done that aren't being done...)

So my doctor decided to run some tests to see if we can figure out what's up. Maybe nothing. Maybe I just need some iron supplements. But let's just be sure.

So he drew blood.

Let me just say that again.

He had a technician stick a needle in the same arm that was violated yesterday, and drew a vial of blood. (They were successful this time)

That's twice in two days. I think I'm done with the needles for a while, thank you very much.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh, for the love...

My father always tells me, "You can't save them all, Emily." I tend to disbelieve him. It's not that I want to save everyone or every animal. It's that I want to know that I'm doing all I can to save everyone and every animal.

This is the root of my love/hate relationship with donating blood.

(Side note: Do you donate blood? If not, you should. Don't you want to be certain that should YOU ever need blood there is a ready supply? Go help out. They give you cookies.)

I am notsomuch a fan of needles. One might say that I'm afraid of them. Actually, I take that back. This is not like, say, my fear of cockroaches. It's not a completely debilitating fear. It's more of an intense dislike. I intensely dislike needles when they are being stuck into me.

But it's precisely because of this dislike, and because of the benefits of donating blood to society, that I feel more pressure to actually DO IT. That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right? When you face your fears, or face new challenges, you grow as a person. It's like a logic puzzle. This costs me little or nothing, and the benefits are great. Why NOT do it? I should do this because I can, and because the benefits outweigh some irrational dislike that I may have.

Unfortunately (or fortunately if you look at it as a 'sign from God') I'm slightly anemic. The last three times I've attempted to donate blood, my iron was too low. Oh, darn. I mean, I TRIED, right?

Then again, you don't see me doing anything about the low iron.

So today I decided to attempt the donation again. I figured that if I was turned down AGAIN, I would actually drive myself directly to CVS and purchase an iron supplement, if not a multivitamin that I would actually take daily.

I'm not going to lie. I was nervous. Butterflies-in-stomach, tight-grip-on-my-purse, laugh-too-loud nervous. When they went to prick my finger for the blood sample, I had to take a brief break to giggle for about 45 seconds before I gave her my finger.

The minimum hemoglobin that they accept is 12.5. I came in at 12.6. I was cleared to donate blood.


So I go back to the area with comfy chairs and lots of plastic bags. I was still giggling. When I sat down and the tourniquet was put on, I concentrated on breathing. Just breathing. In. Out. I could do this. In. Out. It's all mind over matter.

Then the person searching for a vein in my left arm called over another technician to assist. They discussed my veins and I heard words like, "Well, that one is okay, I guess." I made a joke about how I was being difficult and my mother would not be surprised. (Surprise! I crack jokes when I'm nervous.) They laughed and called over another technician while the first technician went ahead and checked my right arm, this time using a blood pressure cuff instead of a tourniquet. She told the others that the vein in the left (deemed "okay, I guess") was better than anything she found in the right arm.

A fourth person was called over. She replaced the tourniquet because she was "old school." She didn't even feel the vein that the first technician had deemed the best available. The second and third technician took turns feeling for the vein for varied amounts of success. Finally the first technician declared, "It's there, it's just deep."

Let's take a moment to think about how this was affecting my anxiety, shall we?

Finally the first technician decided to move forward. This is where I stopped watching. The fourth technician, seeing how nervous I was, decided to stand on my right and distract me with conversation. Which was sweet. But I must admit that I have no idea what she was saying since I closed my eyes and concentrated on how this was not going to hurt. I was a strong woman. This was not going to hurt me and I was most CERTAINLY not going to faint.

And it didn't really. I mean, there was the initial prick that wasn't so much fun... but it was over quickly. It's not like I enjoyed the sensation of a needle in my arm. But it was bearable. What do you know?! I actually COULD do this. This was cake.

Until I heard the words, "I can't hit it."

Oh for the love of...

She couldn't hit it. And mercifully, she didn't try more than a couple/three times before admitting defeat. There was no blood donation for me this Thursday afternoon in June.

As the fourth technician talked over me to the first, I asked, "Can I look now?" She responded, "Oh no, honey. It's not ready yet."

I was grateful.

I was told that I could try again when my arm healed. That I could try drinking more water. That might help. That everyone is different and they're thankful that I tried.

So, to sum up, I gathered my courage, faced my fear, went through the worst of it and it was for nothing. I feel like I failed a test, and I can't help but laugh. I mean, who else does this happen to? I do all this prep work and put all this effort into something so difficult for me, and because of something out of my control, I am unable to reach my goal. (I won't even THINK about how terrifying that is.) I have a badge of honor on my arm that indicates that I donated blood (she's such a good person!) but I did not donate blood. I have to laugh because the irony is too great.

At least I still got cookies.

So I'm waiting a couple of weeks, drinking even MORE water, and will try again. Is anyone willing to come with? It's for a good cause! And besides, you'll get to show me up when YOU get to donate blood and I am a FAILURE. Le sigh.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Worst. Superhero. Ever.

This morning the boy and I stepped outside early, earlier than I usually set foot in the great outdoors, in order to try and capture the illustrations necessary for an upcoming blog. Alas, we failed. As we turned to re-enter the house, I pulled open the screen door and saw a monster run along the INSIDE of my door.

The closest that I can come to describing it was that it was approximately the size of my head, it had about 75 thousand legs, and it wanted to jump on my ear to suck my brain out. Given that description, the only option that I had was to shriek.

"Oh My God! There's a thing! On the fence! Ew ew ew ew ew!!! And now it's in my house! It ran along the fence and now it's in my house! Killitkillitkillit!!!!"

Note: all of this was said while releasing the door, backing AWAY from the door quickly, and gesturing to it frantically.

The boy LEAPED into superhero mode. "What?"

It was here that my panic took over. "ON THE FENCE! It was huge! And now it's in my house! I can't go back in there!! It was HUGE! OMGOMGOMGOMG!"

"On the fence?" The boy whirled around to look at the fence behind us. "Then how can it be in your house now?"

"ON THE FENCE....ER, screen. I meant screen. It ran along the inside of the screen and now it's in my house." (It was here that my brain kicked back in.)


"Why are you yelling at me?"


"I opened the door and a huge bug ran along the inside of the screen towards the cat. It is now in my house. It was huge."

The boy took a deep breath. "Point to where the bug went."

I timidly stretched out a finger to indicate the inside corner of the screen near the hinges.

"Okay. Good. Let me go take a look."

The boy disappeared in my house, and I walked with the dog for a bit. I heard the muffled sounds thumping, a "JESUS!" and then an aerosol can being sprayed. Finally I heard, "All clear now."

As I re-entered the house I said, "You know, I don't remember the part in the story where the superhero yells at the damsel in distress."

"Well, if the damsel doesn't TELL the superhero where the bad guys went, he can't help her, can he?"

"I still don't think he ever yelled at her. She's panicking. In fact, he should be grateful that she's any help at all. Most damsels are swooning by the time the superhero gets there."

"What is this, a superhero in 1920?"

"If it were, I'll bet he wouldn't yell at the damsel."

"And I'll bet the damsel was able to tell him where the bad guys are."

"Whatever. Panic. It's something that superheros learn to deal with correctly at their superhero workshops."

"Superhero workshops?"

"Yes. Which is how they avoid becoming the worst superhero ever."

"Is that me?"

"Well, it's not me! I'm the swooning damsel."

"That certainly was a lot of shrieking for a swoon."

"Shut it."

Friday, June 04, 2010

To help you get in the World Cup spirit

Just in case you didn't take my last suggestion to watch the World Cup seriously, here's a primer of sorts.

And just for kicks I'm including the picture of Benny because, um, yum.

And also there's that whole competition thing. And like I've mentioned before, there's nothing like when your team wins....especially if they're the underdog. Which we are, by the way. By quite a bit.

So mark your calendars now - June 12th, USA vs. England.

(Don't worry - another blog post with more substance is brewing. But first I must capture the illustrations...)

Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Pants Problem

Men don't know how easy they have it. Really they don't. One day, early in the relationship, I had to pick up some pants for the boy. He gave me two numbers to look for, and that was that. "How do you know they're gonna fit?" Apparently they just always do. If you're a boy, and you know your two magic numbers, the pants will always fit.

This is so far opposite from my life that I literally couldn't comprehend it. They always fit? Any pants, anywhere, with these two numbers?

The boy laughed at me. But seriously!

I hate shopping for pants. It is the bane of my existence. It's even worse than swimsuit shopping. No lie, ladies. I mean, I'm sure it would be easier if I were, um, a little more on the slender side. And perhaps a little on the taller side. But as it is, I'm a little bottom heavy, with most of my excess weight centered on my ass and thighs. This basically means that even though women only have one number to remember, that number does not necessarily mean that the pants will fit me. In fact, nine times out of ten my size won't fit me, neither will the next size up, or the next size down. All I get out of shopping for pants is a big fat load of frustration.

You wouldn't like me when I'm frustrated. Or maybe you would. I'm funny. Unless I'm frustrated with you, of course. Then I'm frightening.

Anyway. The deal is that my ass/thigh combo seems to require a size that is too large for my waist. Which results in pants that fit semi-comfortably but have HUGE amounts of excess fabric at the waist. (Yes, they can be altered, and yes, this is what I generally tend to do. Find pants that fit mostly okay and pay an additional $20 to have them fit correctly.)

Oh and "low rise?" That was made for people with no junk in their trunk. Or maybe with just a smaller trunk. But apparently everyone on earth has a smaller trunk because low rise seems to be all that's being sold these days. (And don't get me STARTED on skinny jeans. Women are supposed to have curves.) I mean, unless I want to buy grandmother jeans that sit up on my natural waist, which I have done on occasion out of desperation, it seems I have no options. (no offense to any grandmothers reading. Your jeans fit you beautifully.)

But I will never, ever, EVER, buy pants with pleats. (ARE YOU READING THIS MOTHER?) I don't care if "pleated pants fit our figure better" or "they look so flattering" (LIE!) There has GOT to be a better solution than pleats. End of story.

So when I ruined my last pair of khakis by washing them with a pink t-shirt (for the second time) I was in a pickle. Wear ruined khakis? Wear dresses to work every day? Can I plead "wardrobe malfunction" and just wear pajama bottoms to work?

I decided that online shopping would be less painful than actual fitting rooms that are A) in public B) not in my house and not with my mirror and C) not with my clothes so that I can try different tops to see if the pants are actually acceptable. I reasoned that sending pants back was easier than leaving the mall in tears.

And so my search began. I googled every combination of "petite" "Khaki" "wide-leg" "flare" and "pants" that you can think of. Until I remembered this catalog I had received in the mail last winter. The catalog that I had perused and loved and then immediately pitched because the prices were not prices that could be accepted on a full-time-working-student budget. The catalog from Athleta.

Cue glorious background music.

I love their stuff. So I visited online. And found pants that I loved. Pants that I loved that cost more than I was willing to spend on pants. Pants that, I reasoned, there was no drawback in ordering because they probably wouldn't fit anyway and then at least I would KNOW. Specifically, these pants. Seriously? What's the harm? Pants never ever fit me.

OMG, they fit like they were MADE FOR ME. No kidding. It's like the worst practical joke ever. They fit 100 percent. No complaints. Not one. Well, except for the price. Did you see the price? Did you see that I could probably eat lunch for sixteen days at that price?

So, see, my normal behavior would be to buy a pair in every color because, pshaw, they FIT and that never happens. But, um.....expensive.

So basically there's this war going on. They fit! They're expensive! They fit! They're expensive! It's quite the conundrum. And basically, I should have seen it coming. Because, at this point in my life, I've probably tried on all the cheap pants in the world - of course expensive pants are the only option left. The person who hates shopping must now spend more money than she is willing to buy name brand. Oh the irony. Woe is me. Woe woe woe.

And I would feel worse, but they're so pretty. Have I mentioned that? So pretty, in fact, that I would sell myself on the street to get the money to pay for them. They look so good on me that I would actually wear them to sell myself on the street... but you just don't see many prostitutes in khakis these days. I'm not sure why. Maybe I need to work that angle.

My cousin mentioned that I should buy a pair in brown and a pair in black so that I'm completely covered. I was TOTALLY going to follow her advise until I realized that navy blue is on sale.

What the hell shoes do I wear with navy blue pants?

(Navy blue pants that will look FANTASTIC on me, btw.)

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to see exactly how long I'll have to go without eating once I order more pants. (Pants that FIT!!!)

(Author's note - this is my 300th post and it's about clothing. Worse, it's about shopping. A topic that I abhor. But if I wait for a more auspicious topic to come along, you would miss all the mundane trivialities of my life which is what you really tune in for, right? So just have a glass of wine tonight in celebration of my 300th post and pretend that it was about something important and life-altering.)