Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Five

1. A. and I are not going to the wedding. We just don’t have any fiddle room in the budget right now and A. found out on Wednesday that he has to work tomorrow anyway. The stars just wouldn’t align in such a way that we could make this trip.

I called J.R. to let him know and feel like a giant pile-o-crap. He really understood but I still feel like a big jerk.

2. I am starting to reconsider. I should just go! Who cares if we can’t justify the money right now? Except, have you ever gone to a wedding by yourself? It is not the most fun, trust me. Ugh, I feel like such a heel.

[Updated: This sounds like I feel like his wedding is all about me. Hmm. I don't, I swear. I just know I'd be really dissapointed if A. and I got married and he and his (26 hours and counting!) almost-wife weren't able to join us.]

3. So – I’d like to be sure to send a really thoughtful gift. I’ll check out their registries, because I know most people appreciate getting what they’ve asked for. However, just in case, for those of you who are married: What was your favorite wedding gift? What was your least favorite? For the single ones out there, what was your favorite gift to give? Hell, what was your favorite gift to receive, for whatever occasion? Whatever I send, I think I throw in a batch of homemade cookies, too, for good measure.

4. On the way home from the gym last night, I stopped to pick up the mail. I tend to check the mail daily at the beginning of the month when I am expecting the power bill, but then really let it slide for days on end. (The power bill is the only bill we still get through the mail. The little rural co-op hasn’t discovered the internet, yet.) Anyhoo, I’d let the mail pile up for a couple of days. I was surprised to find a package box key in with the giant armload of mail. (There are four larger post boxes for small packages.) I hadn’t ordered anything and I didn’t think A. had, either.

To my utter delight, I had a small package in there from Lisa. Her copy of the book, Plenty, was waiting for me. I greeted it with squeals of delight and gratitude.

Lisa had mentioned on her blog that she was reading it and I commented that I was jealous because I’ve been trying to get my hands on that book for over a year to no avail. With everything else on her mind and a to-do list that wouldn’t fit on an oversized piece of paper, Lisa made a note to herself.

That she had placed this book in the mail for me would be a generous and thoughtful gesture at any time, but it is especially sweet as she just flew off to Malawi earlier this week for 10 weeks of research. She had plenty of other details to attend to.

So very sweet. (Thanks, Lisa!!!)

5. I love when I get my act in gear and have good, yummy food available all week. Having decent meals throughout the week makes such a difference in how I function and feel. I thought I’d share a couple of my favorites:

For breakfast all week I’ve had Swiss Oatmeal (cold oatmeal, a recipe I’ve blatantly ripped off from the Corner Bakery):

½ cup rolled oats (I’ve been using the quick-cooking kind), uncooked
1 C. (approx) plain or vanilla yogurt
1 Tablespoon dried currants
1 Tablespoon dried cranberries
½ banana, sliced and diced
1/8 granny apple, sliced and diced
Sometimes I throw in a little dried coconut, if I am in the mood.

Combine and mix it up good. I use enough yogurt to get the consistency I want. This also travels well (if you keep it cool). I’ve eaten it at my desk three of the four work days so far. Yummy and filling.

I eat the remaining half of the banana while puttering around the house in the morning, and eat the rest of the apple with some protein in the afternoon, about an hour before hitting the gym. Usually, I just bring some nuts to eat, but today I decided to make peanut butter yogurt dip for the apples.

Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip

¾ C creamy peanut butter
1 C plain or vanilla yogurt (if plain, you can add ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract if you want. I kind of like the taste of just the plain yogurt.)

Mix and dip your apples, pretzels, crackers, pears, whatever in it.

I love this because it is a perfect energy combo late in the day. I always feel like I have enough energy to hit the gym when I remember to bring a snack like this. Plus, it feels kind of luxurious, in a way, to have something to dip my food into. It is like Ranch dressing, but not as evil.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Flippin' Confines of Language are Strangling Me

I’ve decided I swear too much.

I should have come to this realization years ago when I sat down to my first Thanksgiving dinner with my new step-family and hollered “Fuck!” when I spilled gravy all over the table from the gravy boat. But, whatever. Fucking gravy boats.

I don’t know if it is because A.’s family doesn’t swear and so my verbal bombs seem particularly explosive or maybe I subconsciously up the profanity a few notches for whatever reason when I am around them, but spending time with his older sister and her hubby over the weekend brought my potty mouth to light. All I know is there were a few too many “God dammits” going on, even for my taste.

(A.’s heard his mother say shit exactly once, and the situation easily and fairly and genuinely warranted a lengthy, expletive-filled diatribe with fists pounding the tabletop for emphasis. She’s a saint, and even better, a saint that is not annoying. That is a rare combo to happen across.)

How the hell does one re-train oneself to stop swearing? (See! This is going to be IMPOSSIBLE!)

Can I manage to stop swearing out loud but still swear here, on this blog? I don’t know. I tend to “compose” posts in my head while I am out for walks (and then promptly forget them when I sit down in front of the computer) and if I am thinking about saying “what the fuck” I am sure to slip up and say it out loud. Especially if I am on a roll with the post in my head, getting all ragey or self-righteous and that roll extends to life in real-time, real-space. Also, sometimes I just need a good “fuck this shit” to express myself, you know?


(Hmm. Didn’t quite impart the level of frustration I was hoping to express. Damn.)

Anyway, it certainly wouldn’t hurt me to expand my vocabulary. A larger pallet of words at my disposal would certainly help me express myself with more deliberateness, more clarity. (And any carry over into my crafting of The Thesis would be fantastic, obviously.)

I wouldn’t mind sounding a tad more educated.

So, in the future you may see me experimenting with sentence construction containing a lot of the following: jeez, golly, shucks, darn it, cheese and crackers, flipping, and good grief. Also, is it “jeez,” “jeeze,” “geez,” or “geeze?”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not So Damned Ambivalent

I spent three hours of my afternoon huddled with coworkers and students in a basement hallway of my work building. A. hung out in his new boss's basement. We texted friends and family who lived out of town with purpose, hoping to get updates on the progress and location of the tornados that went through the area. One of them touched down and caused some damage, but mercifully there have not been any accounts of injuries or deaths.

However, misfortune found its way to our neighbors to the south in Windsor, CO. Please keep these folks in your prayers, thoughts, good wishes or whatever happens to be your inclination.

Three hours after hiding from the twisters, A. and I drove to his stepsister’s place to see if we needed to cover her windows or salvage anything. (She is out of town.) We’d heard reports that her apartment was right in the area that the twister touched down. Her apartment was fine. While in town, we saw five-story-tall trees that had been pulled up by their roots, others whose roots held but trunks simply broke in half from the force. Sheets of metal and debris were wrapped around telephone poles and tree trunks, an entire building of the junior high was flattened. The roof of one of the gas stations blew clean off. My coworker’s fence was ripped up from the ground, her neighbor’s garage was ruined. Other homes had doors and windows blown in. It was eerie and startling to emerge from the safe, quiet, warm basement to see evidence of such cold, loud violence above.


For the first hour of huddling, I was twitchy and nervous about the dogs. (I knew A. was safe, so I wasn’t being as ridiculous as you might think.) The pups had been left in the backyard to run around and my overdramatic mind was filled with graphic, detailed, frightening images of their sweet little selves being lifted right out of the doghouse and into oblivion.

It wasn't until the first hour passed that it occurred to me that if the dogs were gone, it would be quite likely that our house would be gone, too. So, I had that to keep me occupied for the next two hours. I wondered if there would be ugly scenes of people fighting each other for the remaining sheets of plywood to cover their busted windows. I concocted a plan to make it home if my usual route that tends to flood was in fact flooded and had downed power lines. I never felt panicked but I did feel the need to be prepared.

The urgency of preparedness occupied my mind as I sped down the highway to the house, as well. I wanted to be of sound, gentle mind and tender heart if I was about to drive up to find the man I love standing in front of the house he just lost.

About a mile south of the house, I passed power lines that had been snapped in half, tool sheds that had blown over fences only to land upside down. Both A. and I are worried that the two donkeys down the road were snatched up by the twister; we could see them in any of their usual places. (Though, Black Sheeped assures me there is a very high likelihood they are okay. And, A.’s Nebraskan friend told us a story about three pigs that got picked up by a tornado near his town and were found five miles away without a scratch. I am choosing to believe them.)

Fortunately, though evidence of the tornado was everywhere a mile from the house, our home and the homes of our neighbors were all untouched. A few stray items dotted the front yard, but that was all we came home to. Well, that and two very, very happy dogs.


Of course, an hour after we arrived home and both A. and I had made all the obligatory phone calls saying we, the dogs, and the house were safe Buster freaked out and peed in the living room. As soon as I post this I am dragging out the carpet cleaner, my dear old friend.


Two inches of snow have accumulated so far. The moisture finding its way to the ground started as hail, turned to sleet, and finally settled on realizing its full potential as quarter-sized, fluffy snowflakes.

I have very definite feelings about the weather.


I would be happy to post pictures, but my camera died this afternoon. Thankfully the batteries made it for last weekend!

Ambivalent, She Met the Darkening Sky

Leaves, actual leaves, are on the trees and shrubbery in front of the house! Hallelujah!

Along with this happy bursting of green, summer's arrival has also been marked with unyielding thunderstorms. We've had steady lightning and thunder for about 16 hours now, and a good amount of rain. For a while, the outline of the mountains east of the house was brought into sharp relief by an extended, silent lightening storm. I love those storms. It was pretty fantastic.

Oh, I just love how fresh everything smells, how the prairie grass is suddenly, confidently, pumped with green

I used to love thundershowers. Nothing would make me feel as cozy as to have flashing and booming outside, all the while snuggled up inside, warm and dry under a comfy blanket, reading a good book with the sound of rain on the windows to keep me company. Winter blizzards don’t have quite the same feel. Maybe it is because thunderstorms boom with the promise of new life and warmer weather, and snow storms seem to blanket the earth in another layer of cold, urging us all to just hibernate, already

Now, however, with that crack in the sky my first thought is Buster. The poor little guy will get himself so. worked. up. over the thunder that his entire body shivers. You can see his giant bat hears shivering.

Break. My. Heart.

A. and I are very conscious not to reward this behavior and we treat him as though nothing unusual is going on. But, I do have to keep a careful eye on him, anymore. Last summer, he started freaking himself out so badly that after any of the particularly intimidating booms, after a brief delay, he’d starting running around and peeing (invariably on the carpet. BAH!).

So, last night, I was on high alert, waking and listening after a new round of thunder to see if Buster was running around the house, sprinkling as he went. We escaped last night dry but exhausted, and I am wondering what is in store for us all.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Go Twins (and Rockies)!

Shauna and Jason have impeccable taste in sports teams.

It was truly wonderful to meet them. They are my first Internet-to-Real-Life friends! They are both so funny and smart and, well, genuine.

A. and I whisked them off to some nearby mountains, and we all tooled around the little mountain town of Nederland, CO. Both A. and I regretted that we weren't more familiar with the area in order to show them some really unique features of the land.
The entire time we were together A. and I kept remarking how lovely the weather was because there was no wind. I wouldn't be surprised if Shauna and Jason think we are, well, a bit off. It is entirely understandable.

Over a yummy dinner of pizza and wings, Shauna and I discovered that we both new this guy's sisters. There werea lot of, "No way!" Nut-uh," "That's crazy!" and "Really!?!"s going on.

Then, then - it turns out that A. and I bought tickets that were right behind Shauna and Jason. Out of 40,000+ thousand possible seats.

(That is them, to the right of my giant head.)

During our ride home, after we said goodbye to Shauna and Jason, A. and I chatted about how comfortable and enjoyable the day had been, how thankful we were to have met these two great folks.

Our only regret was that we didn't get to spend more time together.

Friday, May 16, 2008

One Step Closer to Living Up to Our Promise

Check this out! I am only now getting my shit together; I've been crying happy tears for a couple of minutes, now. Seriously, it is so very sweet and also exhilarating.

*pumping fist in the air, triumphantly*

In case you hadn't heard, or don't keep an ear to this issue quite as obsessively as I do, the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on same-sex marriage.

While it is a victory, in many ways it is two steps forward and one step back. Until the federal government recognizes and defends same-sex marriages/civil unions and with all of the same rights (not privileges!!) as heteronormative* marriages, there will always be heartbreaking situations for gay families were their rights are without protection.

Terrance, over at the Republic of T., has some wonderfully articulate and well thought-out posts about how complicated gay marriage is in actuality. I have some specific posts of his in mind, but I am having a hard time finding them right now. I'll update with links in a bit.


* I love, love, love the term "heteronormative marriage," not because I love heteronormative marriage as such, but because the term illustrates so very, very much and interests the hell out of me. I am working on a long, sometimes inarticulate, post about it.

Friday Five

1. Most of the snow (but not all!) had melted by the end of the day on Tuesday. It smelled clean and fresh, like after a rain shower. Everything is turning very green with all of the extra moisture.

2. I am feeling completely overwhelmed with clutter again. I think I am going to spend Sunday morning sorting out what to post to Freecycle, what to post on Craigslist, what is particularly useful for someone down on their luck and prepare it for the Salvation Army, and shoving everything else into trash bags or recycling bins.

3. I won’t be doing this on Saturday, though, because A. and I will be in Denver, meeting Shauna and Jason and watching the Twins/Rockies game. I am both thrilled and a little nervous. Mostly thrilled, though!

4. I just used my tax rebate to buy new tires. I really wanted to bury the check in the backyard, just to give Dubya the finger.

5. The remainder of the rebate will be handed right over to the gas companies so that A. and I can make it to the wedding. Fucking cars and all the trappings! I hate you.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Just Kidding About the Whole Spring Thing

In case you think I am exaggerating or just plain lying about the weather, here are some photos from my morning commute earlier today:

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two Peas in a Pod

Inspired by Tessie's post, I thought I'd look up my name. According to a site with shady connections to the U.S. Census, there is one other person in the U.S. with my first and last name.

Nope. I am not telling.

Menacingly, the Animal Growled

I've already eaten what I've brought for lunch as well as my afternoon snack of chocolate chips and nuts. All I have left in my lunch bag is my afternoon apple. There are four more hours before I am supposed to hit the gym.

And my tummy just growled.

The probability that I will use hunger as an excuse not to go the gym today: HIGH.

Friday, May 9, 2008

From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own

I posted this last year for Mother's Day, and I will post it again. It deserves to be read and re-read.

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother’s Day Proclamation - 1870

by Julia Ward Howe

Arise then…women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts!
Whether your baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
“We will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country,
Will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”
From the voice of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with
Our own. It says: “Disarm! Disarm!
The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”
Blood does not wipe our dishonor,
Nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil
At the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home
For a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace…
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God -
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality,
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.

Friday Five

1. I forgot to put on my make-up this morning. Plum forgot.

2. Some of my weekend plans include ripping out some sagebrush and preparing a patch of land for a garden. I am nervous about this for a plethora of both rational and irrational reasons, the most pressing of all that I will get dirty. I am a wuss and a pain in the ass when it comes to dirt. I would think this an ominous trait for a hopeful, some would say insanely naive, would-be gardener, no?

3. Since we are talking dirt and how it drives me batty, even worse than the cold, cold! COLD! water when wet-wading and fly-fishing (wandering into the river with bare legs and feet only in sandals) is the ride home. Little bits of river dirt and smelly stuff drying to my feet is positively torturous. Not to mention then my feet also get that really horrid, dry, stretchy/crackly feeling from drying out, too.

4. But! I cannot wait to go fly-fishing. Just a few more weeks!

5. A. and I are starting wonder if we will be able to attend a wedding later this month because of fuel costs. The wedding is an 11-hour round trip on the road. The groom, JR, is a dear friend, and I am sure he will understand if our budget dictates that we stay home. I've been pinching some pennies to try and make it work. I'd love to be able to celebrate with him, and many friends that I only see every couple of years will be there. We'll see.

However, if we just can't manage it, we've already sent in our RSVP as attending (before fuel went up to $3.48 a gallon and looks to keep on climbing). I feel terrible that the groom and his future wife will be paying for two extra plates at their reception and we might not be there.

Would it be terribly tacky to offer to send some money to cover the cost of our meals? Or, maybe without saying so, send some cash along with a wedding gift? I know the groom very well and feel like we could chat about this. But he is an old-fashioned sort of guy and would probably refuse any money. Thoughts?

Hopefully all of this can be avoided because A. and I will be there, toasting JR and his new bride.

Happy Friday to you!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Melodrama, Don't Run from Me

I have been athletic most of my life. As a child, my sisters and I were always running around outside or riding our bikes around the neighborhood, even organizing and participating in regular “Bike Rodeos” with the other kids. As a young girl, I was in gymnastics and Mary Lou Retton was my idol. (I miss that innocence. Imagine my utter disappointment and the intensity of my broken heart to discover she had grown up to become – a Republican. Gah! Also: what a cheesy website! But still an awesome athlete.) Instead of gossiping with the girls at recess, I could be found on the football field with the boys. I had the best spiral of the bunch.

Later, in junior high, I discovered volleyball and have been hooked ever since. I still join the city league to play. I tried playing basketball but quickly discovered I couldn’t breathe and dribble at the same time. To this day, I vehemently dislike the game. (Especially men’s pro basketball. Too. Many. Egos. Also: Kobe Bryant should be in jail. Also, also: Except women’s college ball. That is still good, fundamental basketball.)

However, running has never come naturally to me, and it isn’t something I’ve ever done regularly. I tried running track in junior and high school. My time in the 100 meter dash was always a couple of seconds too slow to secure a spot in the event. The coaches always had me run the 400 meter dash and I always wanted TO DIE. Is there any worse race? Geez.

So, after three seasons I learned to hate running.


My best friend, JelBel, started running and training in earnest a couple of years ago. She completed her first half-marathon about a year ago. The determination, dedication and commitment she showed while training was so very inspirational. She beamed with self-confidence and was so strong. She looked good, inside and out. Truly, running had helped her connect with and care for her well being. I was—and still am—so very proud of her. I saw her taking care of herself and realized that I, too, deserve such good care.


A few months ago I finally had enough. Enough with the gaining weight. Enough with feeling uncomfortable in my own body. Enough with treating myself like I wasn’t worth taking care of.

I started running. It was very slow going, at first. (At first! Ha! It is still slow going.) Inspired and guided by many female bloggers, including Jonniker, Swistle, Tessie, and Erin (and others – sorry if I forgot to link to you!), I started my own modified Couch-to-5K program. It took me a month to build up to the actual starting point of the program, I was (am) so out of shape.

Finally, I go to the point where I could run a mile (while intermittently walking, of course)! I was so proud! I felt so much better. Just that little amount of exercise improved my spirits and made my body feel stronger, more able. Even if my progress was humble, it was thrilling nonetheless.

Then I was hit with shin splints, and all progress has been derailed.

I was really proud of myself, though. Instead of freaking out, or getting all melodramatic and shit and proclaiming I would never be able to run, I purposefully decided to just start over. Just let go and start over. Start running one lap, walking one lap, for ten minutes for one week. And increase from there.

It would be okay. It was all so very Zen-like.

Rarely do I exercise such presence of mind.

Since then, my knees keep hinting that they are going to organize and stage a noisy, rowdy protest without a permit if I don’t stop forcing them to work. I completely rolled both ankles while vacuuming (one narrow hallway, one pair of Dansko clogs, one very tangled cord, and one ridiculously terrified, running Buster equaled disaster) and they are still achy and swollen at night, and now a muscle on the outside of my right calf is really, really sore for reasons I cannot explain. WTF?!?!

Needless to say, last night’s “run” did not go well. I didn’t even make it 10 minutes before my entire right leg burned from being tensed the entire run. (Stupid calf muscle.)

I am starting to feel melodramatic and think I may not ever be able to run.

Not only that, I am wondering what I can do to get fit, dammit. Two nights of 45 minutes of volleyball for two months a year is not going to cut it. I need to improve my fitness. I am not healthy right now and I need to commit to getting into and staying in shape. So much research simply confirms, no matter what way you slice it, that physical activity is the single best thing you can for your health. I need to quit sitting on my ass, people.

Swim? I can swim my little, liberal, bleeding heart out and not advance three inches in the water. No lie. This example is not being exaggerated due to my melodramatic state. Really. I swear. I hate the stupid cardio machines. I feel so … hamster-like.

I wonder if running on the treadmill (SCARY!) would be better than running on the track? The sloped corners always feel awkward and kind of hurt me.

I am starting to feel all tragic and defeated. Melodrama, don’t resist my warm, strong embrace.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Spring's Warm Breath Brings Hope

It is Monday, but it doesn't feel like Hell on Earth today.

Finally, it feels as though Spring has arrived and isn't just teasing us with potential dates that she might drop in.

Windows are open, the wind is still and birds are singing and calling to each other. There has been a surge of green from all the snow moisture lately. In the early morning sun A. spotted the first buds on the trees and bushes out in front of the house.

A. did break the stillness when he cursed the damn English sparrow that has bullied our little Mountain Bluebird family out of the birdhouses out front. You invasive little bugger, you!

I am ditching out from work at noon to head to Denver and watch a Rockies game. I am so glad my boss honors informal comp time.

And finally, how could Monday seem dreary when you are greeted with this cuteness? LOOK AT THOSE CHEEKS.

The Delightful Little M. (nephew)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Take Care of the Young and the Weak

Update: All roads in and out of the area are closed.

And - Belle is back to her perky self!

From the
National Weather Service, for my home, today:

Snow and Blowing Snow Advisory

Laramie Range (Wyoming)



826 AM MDT FRI MAY 2 2008


















826 AM MDT FRI MAY 2 2008
















5 1 1.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Anxious Hands Found Their Way to the Telephone

I’ve just hung up with the vet.

A. called while on his way to class to say that Belle hadn’t even got up from laying down when he mentioned “Jerky!” Even he sounded concerned.

I explained to the vet when and where we noticed Belle acting goofy. This new vet is awesome. At no point in this phone call was I made to feel like I was an over-protective, helicopter doggie-parent.

It sounds like it could be some kind of bug bite (spider, yellow jacket) or a tweaked muscle. It is hard to tell if she is in pain or just doesn’t feel good. Or both. The vet suggested we schedule an appointment for late in the day tomorrow so we have some time to keep an eye on her. She very well may start feeling better on her own.

If not, I’ll bring her to the vet as soon as I can get away from the filming set at 4:30 p.m. tomorrow.

Now I have to decide if my leaning toward skipping the gym tonight to get home to her is really about little miss Belle or if it has something to do with my lazy ass looking for any excuse to skip a workout.