Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Easily Eliminated

It's wintertime. It's cold. And apparently my low maintenance status-quo is just not cutting it. My body is screaming that I must pay a little more attention to it. I don't know if I'm treating this winter differently than I have previous winters, but I'm dealing with dry skin like you would not believe - even with all the water I've been drinking. Lotion has helped, but in particular, my fingertips are dry, cracked and peeling. Ouch. It's gotten to the point that I notice it all the time - it's pretty annoying.

(Before you ask, no, I'm not touching or using any lotions or creams that are different than my usual routine, and I always wear latex rubber gloves in chemistry lab.)

Of course I made the mistake of mentioning this to my mother and now a healthy dose of motherly guilt is suggesting that I head to the doctor to see if anything is seriously wrong. I don't believe that I have any serious illness but, you know, under the barrage of mother guilt, it's impossible that the door of doubt isn't cracked just a bit. What if I really AM dying? Because it's a little known fact that all serious diseases begin with dry, cracked fingertips, you know.

And so, even though everyone says not to do this, I googled my symptoms this morning. I was totally expecting all signs to lead to cancer, but I was surprised. There were actually some common circumstances/chronic illnesses that were NOT cancer and suggested as possibilities for what I'm experiencing. So I decided to go through them one by one and see if perhaps I did need to go to the doctor after all.

Um, no. Each one that I clicked on had "extreme weight loss" listed as one of the symptoms. That's not happening here... move along. And please pass the hand lotion.

Any suggestions from others?? I would appreciate any help at this point.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Quest for Ice Cream

(I need to begin this post with an apology to both z and the boy. Because I totally do this to them. And now at least I know where I get it from.)

On Saturday evening, I was heading out the door to meet a high school friend for coffee when my dad stopped me.

"Where are you going again?"

"To Starbucks to meet Kristen, dad. I'll probably be gone about an hour/hour and a half or so."

"Oh. Okay. You want to pick up some ice cream on your way home?"

"Sure. I can do that. What do you want?"

"Do you want ice cream?"

"No thanks."

"Oh, well, then don't worry about it."

I changed my tune. "Sure dad. I would love some ice cream. There is nothing on this earth that I would like more."

He laughed and said, "Forget about it."

"No seriously. I'll pick it up no problem. What do you want? A strawberry blizzard?"

"No. I don't like strawberry."

"Right, right. That's mom. You like peanut butter cup."

"Don't worry about it. Really."

"Oh maybe I'll just pick you up a pint of Ben and Jerry's?" I mused.

My dad immediately perked up and responded, "Do they have pistachio?"

"Pistachio? I'm not sure, but I can look."

"Nah. Don't worry about it."


Now, I don't know if I've ever mentioned how difficult it is to do nice things or buy gifts for my father. He's pretty self sufficient, and when you ask what he wants, you never get a good answer. (When he was working it was always "a new tie" - the man had over 100 ties - and now it's always "a bottle of Beefeater." - there is no shortage of alcohol at my parents house.) My dad is usually all, "Oh, don't worry about me. I'm fine." But this conversation? It was a chink in the armor of self sufficiency. My dad wanted pistachio ice cream. He wanted something. That I could provide! It was now my mission in life to bring home some pistachio ice cream.

I came to find out that this was easier said than done.

I started off by meeting my friend at Starbucks and then hitting four stores on my way home. The first was the grocery store that I had visited earlier that day. Where I struck out. But not after spending about 15 minutes in the surprisingly small ice cream section pouring over every different container. Still, I left optimistic. There were two other grocery stores within five minutes. Surely one of them would have it.

The second place where I stopped closed at 9:00pm. It was 9:10pm when I got there. I was dumbfounded. Seriously? The store closes at 9:00pm on a Saturday? Um, okay. Small(ish) town, I guess.

I tried an ice cream shoppe next. They make their own ice cream, so I was hopeful that maybe they had specialty flavors that no one else carried. Vanilla Bean, they carry. Chocolate, they carry. Pistachio - negative. So much for exotic flavors. However, after three strikes, I decided to ask if anyone knew of anywhere that I COULD find pistachio ice cream. I was directed to the Baskin Robbins on the east side of town. Sweet! That was on the far side of town, but if worse came to worst, at least I had a confirmed supply. I mean, assuming the high school kids behind the counter of a small-town ice cream shoppe were right. Grasping for hope, I chose not to doubt them.

On my way home, I stopped at the final grocery store. They were locking their doors as I arrived, so I just squeezed in under the wire. No pistachio, but they did have spumoni. I vaguely remembered that my father also liked spumoni, and perhaps the green layer in the spumoni was pistachio? (it isn't.) Regardless, I decided not to go home empty handed and bought the spumoni ice cream before heading back to my parent's house.

..where my father verified that the green layer is NOT pistachio, but still shared the ice cream with my mother so I wouldn't feel like a failure. Didn't work.

That night, while out with friends, I was recounting my quest and subsequent failure. I asked if anyone knew where to get pistachio ice cream? I was rewarded with independent verification that Baskin Robbins did indeed carry what I sought. Of course, they were closed by then (well past midnight) but I started plotting as to when I could get some ice cream the next day after church but before I drove the three hours home.

When we left the bar, my friend Jackie suggested that we drive past Baskin Robbins just to make sure. We did, and sure enough, "Pistachio-Almond" ice cream was on the menu. I was giddy. Super-giddy. This is what I blame on why I agreed when Jackie made the following suggestion, "Do you want to just go check Wal-Mart before we head home? It might save you a trip tomorrow."

It was 2:00am. I was tired. The thought of getting up for church was exhausting enough, not to mention the subsequent three-hour drive home. Saving me a trip sounded like bliss. Besides, I figured it was a long shot. I was certain that Wal-Mart wouldn't carry what I needed. No one else in town did. There's no way Wal-Mart would. Psh, Wal-Mart. Like they have anything good on their shelves.

Guess what Jackie found at Wal-Mart?

What a pickle. Seriously. I was torn. Spend money at Wal-Mart? The hated Wal-Mart? A store I wouldn't set foot in even when I couldn't afford real hand soap? The root of all evil? I mean, I sometimes act soulless and unethical, but to actually give my money to a soulless and unethical business??

But... the only pistachio ice cream I had seen in the entire town. (sob.)

I'm a daddy's girl. We all know how this story ends. Tears were shed and tantrums were thrown, but in the end I sold my soul for a pint of pistachio ice cream. I even had to use my damn credit card so there's proof! I feel dirty. Oh so dirty.

Still, the look on my dad's face when he found it the next morning? Priceless.

Not that I was there to see it, mind you. The man gets up at 7:30am. I didn't move until at least ten. But, you know, I can imagine.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

An Early Morning Lesson in Small(er) Towns

This past Friday was my father's sixty-fourth birthday. Since I am the epitome of a daddy's girl, I made the trek back to my hometown for a visit. And since it's scientifically proven to be impossible to buy birthday presents for fathers, I decided to make waffles for breakfast (and do the dishes) on both Saturday and Sunday while I was visiting. Happy Birthday dad!

In preparation, I called my mother to make certain she had most of the perishable ingredients needed to make waffles that would not make the trek with me from Indianapolis. When I found out that she didn't have milk, I offered to stop on my way home, but she repeatedly assured me that she would pick up milk before Friday problem.

Apparently this promise was forgotten. Two glasses of wine into the visit on Friday night (where alcohol seems to be flowing ever copiously,) my mother remembered that she had forgotten to get milk. Damn. No problem...I love my dad...I'll get up on Saturday morning before my dad gets up and buy some milk.

My dad gets up at 7:30am. Everyday.

My hometown is on CST while Indy is on EST.

So not only was I getting up at 7:00am on a Saturday, my body actually felt like it was getting up at 6:00am. I had also had two three a few glasses of wine. You can imagine how happy I was when I went to get milk on Saturday morning.

"I really love my dad," was what I chanted to myself repeatedly when I went to get milk at the crack of dawn. (It was either that or evil thoughts about my mother who had forgotten the milk in the first place. It was with great effort that I focused on the positive. I really really hate mornings.)

When I arrived at the closest grocery store to my parent's house (approximately a three minute drive, I might add) I had progressed from grumpy to crabby to certifiably evil. I headed to the back of the store to get the milk, cursing because I had to walk through the entire store to get to the dairy section, and seriously, what are we really accomplishing by setting up the store like this except making people who only need milk REALLY grumpy because they have to walk five miles farther than necessary in their trek? On my way to check-out, I grabbed a Starbucks frappuccino in an effort to help my mood and keep my familial relations friendly. Then I proceeded to get in the only checkout line open, behind two women approximately 70 years of age and shopping for their grocery needs for the next five months.

I looked around for the U-Scan, and finally sighed in resignation. Stupid small town. Stupid no technology. Stupid wait in line for 10 hours to buy milk and a frappuccino. Stupid waffles. Stupid people who shop for five months at a time. This would be so much easier if I were at home. In Indianapolis. Where there is technology and the world makes sense.

It was at this point in my internal grumbling that the lady in front of me turned around and said, "Honey, why don't you go ahead in front of me? You only have two items."

My early-morning brain literally could not process a response. I stood there in dumbfounded silence, during which the second little old lady turned and made the same offer. "Goodness yes. You only have two items. You go on ahead sweetie."

I should note that I did not know either of these ladies.

I stumbled over a "Thank you" and immediately felt guilty for my evil thoughts of only moments earlier. I shuffled to the front of the line, paid for my two items and got back to my parent's home within 15 minutes.

And it was thus how I was properly chastised by my small(er) hometown. Because you KNOW that for all the technology in the world, there's no way that would have happened in Indianapolis at 7:00am. In fact, the little old ladies up here might have even thrown elbows if I had dared reach around them to get a pack of gum.

Lesson learned. Small town living for the win!

Okay. Maybe not for the win...but not a complete loss. And for me to think that way about my hometown? Progress. Way to go, little old ladies!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I hate everyone. Where's the caffeine?

So today marks the beginning of Lent.

Obviously, I was raised Catholic.

Being somewhat non-committal on the subject of religion now (I prefer to say that I "make it up as I go") I'm always surprised by the gravity that Lent has for me. By the longevity that it's had in my life. When I was little, it was (duh) because Easter was coming. Easter meant Easter baskets. Easter meant a pretty dress to wear to church. (If I was lucky, there was also a hat.)

These days, though there still are Easter baskets, (that still come from the "Easter Bunny" because my mother rocks) I think I prefer the tradition of the season. (Lord knows it's not the Easter mass that I enjoy... Sorry Lord.) I kind of like the sacrifice. I like the deliberate-ness of taking something small and important out of my life, and every time I turn to do it/eat it/use it out of habit for 40 days, I deliberately think of WHY I am not doing it/eating it/using it.

And why am I giving something up for 40 days and 40 nights? Well, to go into that would be to go into what I personally believe regarding religion and a higher power. And you guys don't want to read that, right? That is not what this blog is here for. Let's face it, you guys want to know what I gave up for Lent.

I don't have any set rules for what I give up each year. I usually just know what it is when I stumble upon it. It has to be difficult enough to be a sacrifice, but it can't be so difficult that I'm miserable for 40 days and 40 nights. In the past (before I had to cut back in order to have the innernetz at my house) I have given up Starbucks. That was difficult enough that I actually did that a couple of years running. Last year I gave up high fructose corn syrup. MAN. That stuff is in EVERYTHING. That was a tough one. When I was in high school I gave up carbonated beverages.

This year, when I solicited suggestions on Facebook, they ranged from the ridiculous (regular Coke - please, people... the goal is not to be miserable) to the non-applicable (American Idol - sorry...I don't partake.) But they led to some considerations. Give up Survivor and my beloved Colby? Somehow I don't think that would be difficult enough. Another friend suggested giving up texting (and blogging) and I was intrigued... until I realized that all that would do is probably raise my phone bill (and, let's be honest, how regular have I been with posting lately??)

As Fat Tuesday wound to a close and I hadn't yet thought of anything to sacrifice for Lent, I started to panic. In the end, instead of just giving in and giving up something reasonable like regular Coke (which would be really tough, but not impossible) I had a complete lapse of sanity and decided to give up the snooze button on my alarm clock. Let me say that again. I gave up the snooze button on my alarm clock. For Lent. For 40 days and 40 nights. No snooze button. I get up when my alarm goes off. Like, I hear my alarm, and then I have to get out of bed.

I can't even blame the boy for this suggestion. I did it all by myself. Madness.

Me. The person who owns several different types of pajamas that all say the same thing, "NOT A MORNING PERSON." Me. The person who my family has learned not to speak to until I've been awake for at least an hour or had Starbucks. Whichever comes first. (My mother gave me a coffee mug for Christmas that says "Crabby." Yep, that about sums it up.) Me. The person who could sleep for 13 hours at a time if you let her. Me. The person who had an organic chemistry lab that lasted until 10:20pm last night and had to be in to work at 7:00am. Me. The person who everyone was afraid to wake from a nap in college (except for one brave soul....) Even today the BOY hates waking me up from a nap. It's not pretty. I do love me some sleep.

The things I'll do in the name of religion....sheesh. I swear. (Wait. No I don't. Swearing is a sin. Oops.)

The first thing this sacrifice did was cause me to re-set my alarm for a reasonable time. No more of this setting-for-5:30am-in-order-to-get-up-at-6:00-or-6:15-stuff. The second thing it did was cause me to practice self restraint when my alarm went off this morning, I couldn't hit snooze, and I had to remember why. The object is not to be bitter when remembering why I'm sacrificing. Yeah. That was a challenge. My entire shower was spent thinking things like, "Not bitter. Doing this for a reason. Deliberately thinking about things that I otherwise might not spend time thinking about. Not bitter. Do not hate the world."

Of course, if my cat hadn't chosen today to poop on my doormat which caused me to realize that no, I hadn't yet gone to the store to replenish my supply of paper towels, I probably would have been a tad more successful.

Anyone else out there give something up? If not, you can still show me some love by giving me your thoughts on how successful I'll be at this undertaking. The boy thinks I'll last a week. He's so supportive.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

VD came, and VD went (with a little buyer's remorse)

It's that time of year again.

I have friends who love love LOVE February 14th, and get flowers and jewelry - the whole nine yards. I celebrate with them. If that makes them happy, then it makes me happy as well. I'm still a girl - I love a good romantic story as much as the next girl. Tell me all about what your husband/boyfriend/significant other did for you. Yay love!

Me? I don't want that. Save your money. Don't buy me flowers - my cat might eat them and they might be poisonous. Do you want to be responsible for killing my cat? Let's buy tickets to go see the Colts play next season. Infinitely more romantic from my perspective. Better yet? Spend Thursdays with me and don't complain when I watch Survivor and root for Colby. Commiserate with me when he's voted off, or celebrate with me when he wins. Even if you don't care. THAT'S what I want.

That doesn't make me bitter or angry or a VD hater. It's just a different perspective. I don't try to get other women to do as I do, I just don't choose to participate in this particular tradition. And that's okay. Personally, after the way I spent this February 14th, I don't think my life is lacking any in people that I love who also love me. There are multiple points of view in the world. Sometimes I have to remind myself that it's good to remember that.

So I say enjoy VD whatever way you do or can. Or not. Whatever. But tell me all about it whether there were flowers, diamonds, or pizza in front of the TV involved. Me? I wore red, ate waffles with two of my favorite people, fruitlessly studied organic chemistry and then squeezed in some quality time with my favorite boy and my favorite dog. No commercialization involved. Just another Sunday.

On a more important topic, I purchased a dress today and am feeling a bit of buyer's remorse. I drove past the dress for over a week before I absolutely had to purchase it lest someone else get to it first. (In case you hadn't noticed, I don't generally react this way to clothing.) The problem is that it was full price. Not too expensive, but still. Emily doesn't like paying full price. So I'm torn. Keep it or return it. So I decided to handle this decision the way I would handle any big decision... I'll let the internets decide.

So, internets... To keep the dress, or not to keep the dress? That is the question. (But don't forget to tell me about your VD too!!)