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.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A pinch of this, a sprinkle of that...

Biking update - I've been riding to work as much as possible - despite the geese and stupid drivers turning right (look both ways people!!) In the beginning, I was averaging a 20 minute ride, with longer rides in the mornings, because...duh. Now I'm passing boys on the towpath and making it home in 18:43. Gotta love that. Obviously, when I wake up to a monsoon at 6:30am (like today) I go right back to sleep for 45 minutes with zero regrets. This is the fourth week since making the decision to ride 1000 miles, and I'm currently sitting at 417 miles from the starting 228. I only need 11 more miles to keep on track for my 50 miles per week. I think I can get that done, if not riding to work, then this weekend when we have a 24 mile bike ride scheduled.

Casualties from the bike riding? My shoulders which are both currently peeling due to my inability to remember that people with darker skin tones need sunblock too. My wallet from the riding gloves that were recently purchased (and make me look bad ASS even if I do say so myself.) And my water bill as I have to do more laundry to keep up with all the clothes I'm wearing.

I still think I'm coming out ahead.

Casey has been taking fish oil pills since I learned that monster dog is unbearable. So far, her fur is noticeably softer, and she doesn't have the visible bumpy hives on her back and legs. But she still does have splotches on her stomach caused by allergies, and her eyes are still red-rimmed. Overall, I think things are improving, and I'm willing to keep it up for another month to see if things get even better. However, since she can't NOT be sick, she decided to get a bladder infection and scare the bejeezus out of me all other tests came back normal and I thought she had bladder stones that would require surgery. Luckily that is not the case, and the antibiotics that I have to force down her throat twice a day seem to be taking care of all issues just fine. (FYI - forcing open a stubborn pit bull's jaws to force down antibiotics? Not fun. Giving said pit bull Doritos until she is lulled into a false sense of security and then slipping the antibiotic in the Doritos? Much more fun, but results in a Dorito/antibiotic mix of crumbs all over the floor as soon as she tastes the medicine. She's not dumb, that's for sure.)

Body Art update? Piercings - Multiple. The boy is relieved. I am ridiculously thrilled with them, but wish they would hurry up and heal already. FYI - things that are not normally pierced are not normally pierced for a reason. And that reason is because they hurt like a mother... Be ye not so stupid.

Don't worry - they are all visible and not at all kinky. Ew.

I have not yet given up on the tattoo, but have an entirely new idea for one. So I must now mull over it for a while to see if it sticks.

GRE studying begins this month. I have decided that Monday and Thursday evenings, and Sunday afternoons are for studying. (Unless it rains on Tuesdays and then it's Mondays and Tuesdays. I can't miss out on the weekly bike rides :-) I'm starting off slow and just going through practice tests, and I'm amazed at how much I remember. I mean, I've forgotten a lot, but my bruised intelligence ego is getting a lift from these practice exams after getting beaten to within an inch of its life by ochem. Maybe my brain DOES still work. Stay tuned.

The USA World Cup opener is June 12th. I will be visiting my parents in the land of cable, so I'm sure I will get to watch it. Yay! You should too - it's a no brainer. If you bring it up in casual conversation you seem all worldly and smart. (Um, and there are hot soccer players. Yum.) Besides, there should be a rule in your life that something that only happens once every four years is special and important and worthy of your free time. U-S-A!! U-S-A!!