Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Retrospective

(I have been working on this post for weeks. Given the year I've had, I found it a bit difficult to complete. Because tomorrow is the last day of the year, I finally managed to finish it today. Bring on 2010!)

Top ten things that happened in my life this year
(in no particular order)

1. Visited NYC with MM (his first time visiting the city)
2. Learned to play the piano
3. Was a godmother for the first (& second) time
4. Adopted a second golden retriever
5. Experienced my first severe dog bite (ironically, from my own dog)
6. Had my first-ever MRI
7. Celebrated my first wedding anniversary with MM
8. Visited the White House (finally, on my ninth or tenth trip to DC)
9. Tried acupuncture for the first time
10. Spent one whole weekend relaxing at a local resort (something I'd long wanted to do)

Top ten things that I would like to do (or see happen) in 2010 (not listed in order of importance or likelihood)

*1. Become more routine-oriented
2. Change jobs
*3. Visit Rowan at least three times (this was on my list for 2009, and I fell short of my goal and only saw the little guy twice this year)
*4. Lose weight (on the list again)
*5. Get more organized at home (this one, too)
*6. Get pregnant
7. If I can't get pregnant, achieve acceptance, peace and serenity about this fact.
8. Hike more often
9. Take a cruise
*10. Write a first chapter for a novel

(*NOTE: I find it more than a little troubling that six of these are the same as on last year's list)

Ten lessons I learned in 2009 (in no particular order):

1. There are some "goals" that cannot be achieved, no matter how hard I work.
2. The universe likes to f$%^ with me. (I actually knew this already, but this year reminded me.)
3. Nothing in my life ever seems to happen when it should; I seem to be perpetually out of sync, for reasons that are a mystery to me.
4. It is folly to devote the majority of one's energy to achieving something which is not necessarily the result of hard work and doing everything "right."
5. Marrying MM was one of the best decisions I've made.
6. No matter how long you've known someone, it's OK to end the friendship if the relationship is consistently one-sided.
7. Even when I'm sure I know what's going to happen in a given situation, sometimes I end up being wrong.
8. Some things are more fun in the abstract or in retrospect than they are when you're actually doing them.
9. It *is* possible for me to have more books available to me than I can read in a reasonable period of time.
10. Mexican food in Arizona just doesn't taste as good as Mexican food in New Mexico.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is it just me?

Just wondering how many of you keep track of whether the people to whom you send holiday cards send you one back. And if you do keep track, how long would you continue to send a card to someone who did not reciprocate?

To clarify, I am not talking here about people who are an active part of my day-to-day life and that I talk to regularly. I'm talking more about friends and extended family members with whom I was once close but now only correspond with occasionally at Christmas or on birthdays and haven't actually spoken with in years.

A very anal-retentive friend of mine told me a few years ago that she tracked this and dropped people from the list if they didn't send a card for two consecutive years. Because my own list had grown by leaps and bounds over the years because of my many moves and the friends I'd met along the way, I decided to track this, too. . . . but I always feel a little funny about "cutting" people from the list. I have gotten rid of a few people over the past few years, and there have been no ill effects from it that I've noticed.

Also, on a somewhat related note. . . . there are a few people on my list who normally send me a card who did not this year. (Again, people with whom I am not in regular, consistent contact.) I know one of them has a wife who is nine months pregnant, so I am cutting them some slack, but I can't figure out why the other two couples skipped me this year. One of them I have known the wife for twenty years, and we have exchanged cards nearly that entire time (and are friends on Fac.eb.ook).

Hmmmm . . . .

My husband says I am giving this way too much thought and that I shouldn't care whether people send me/us cards. He is probably right. . . .

Monday, December 28, 2009

A few thoughts. . . . none of them deep

  • Christmas week is not a good time to start (or re-start) an exercise program.
  • I never enjoy green chile sauce made outside New Mexico. I should remember this and not order anything with green chile sauce in Arizona because I will invariably be disappointed.
  • No one wanted to come back to work today.
  • Over eight years after leaving the field of nursing, I am still having dreams about going home after a shift at the hospital and realizing I forgot to chart. PTSD anyone?
  • Is it wrong that my in-laws give me better gifts than my own parents?
  • I recently learned through Fac.ebo.ok that two friends from college who married women I thought were wrong for them are still married over 15 years later. . . while people I knew who seemed "perfect" for each other are divorced. Guess it just goes to show that you never know. . . .

Monday, December 21, 2009

Back on track (again)


It's so nice to start the work week on Monday morning after having had a truly fun and relaxing weekend for a change. Seems like lately I have been in the doldrums a lot, and my weekends have not been very enjoyable.

Friday afternoon was our office holiday party. This year it was lunch followed by a few hours of games at Dave & Buster's. It was a lot of fun!

After the party, I picked up my last few Christmas gifts: some small items for MM to supplement his "big" present. While at Old Navy buying him some boxers (which were on sale, woohoo), I noticed they had some GREAT sales and ended up buying a few things for myself as well.

Saturday morning I slept until I awoke naturally--10 hours in all--and then wrapped my remaining Christmas gifts and did some laundry. I had a mostly leisurely day: the most strenuous things I did besides laundry were Furminating the dogs and picking up their poo. I read and played on the computer and relaxed.

Saturday night we met friends for dinner at a teppan yaki place in Scottsdale. We don't see this couple often--not more than once every 2-3 months--but they are fun to hang out with. It was the wife's 40th birthday, so we also went to a couple of bars afterward. Fortunately, the birthday girl was nearly passed out by 10:00, and we were able to make an earlier-than-expected exit. Sadly, I am too old to stay our late anymore. . . ah well.

Sunday morning, I got up a little early to go hiking with my friend V in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix. I haven't hiked at all since the weather has finally been cool enough, and I hadn't seen V much in the past few months. It was a BEAUTIFUL hike, and the weather was absolutely perfect: sunny, around 70, an occasional slight breeze. I definitely want to return to that area and hike more trails there; it is about six miles off the main road via an unpaved road, so it is a little remote. . . which meant fewer people on the trails and near-absolute quiet. I love that feeling that I am totally away from civilization.

V and I had lunch after our 3-hour hike, and I got home just in time to relax for a little while before getting ready to go see the luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden. Having grown up in New Mexico, I *love* luminarias, so I was really looking forward to this event, and it did not disappoint. (MM even ended up enjoying it, though he only went to humor me.) We followed the luminarias with a visit to one of MM's favorite pizza places, and that was our evening.

Between trying on clothes Friday, thinking about my own upcoming 40th birthday (which is 15 months from today) and hiking Sunday, I began thinking--once again, for the bajillionth time--over the weekend about getting back on the healthier-eating-and-regular-exercise track. Actually, this topic is one that is never far from my mind. . . even when I'm doing little/nothing about it.

Today my gym bag is packed, and I intend to go to the gym after work today. It will be the first time I've been to the gym in about a month. Not sure how much cardio I will do, because I am just not feeling all *that* energetic, but I do want to get back on a regular weight lifting program, so I am going to start that today. I am going to lift weights three days a week and plan to gradually add in some cardio on my "rest" days as well.

Eating-wise, I am not off to a great start, having had nothing to eat at home and settling for a breakfast sandwich from Star$$ (though I did forgo my caffe mocha in favor of just coffee with cream & Spl.enda), but I did bring my lunch and plan to pick up a salad somewhere for dinner. Baby steps, I guess. I will have to make a trip to the grocery store sometime in the near future because I didn't go over the weekend.

So that's where I'm at. Guess I'm about two weeks ahead of most people this time in "resolving" to get fit. ;-)

Friday, December 18, 2009

I picked a good one

Last night after I went to bed, my wonderful husband booked us a trip to Vegas for the weekend of my birthday. I love going to Las Vegas, though I can only spend 3-4 days there and only wliketo go no more often than once a year. . . . for me, a little Vegas goes a long way. ;-)

We are going to stay in a SUITE at Mandalay Bay, reserve a cabana by the pool for one whole day, and go to see the Cirque du Soleil show "O" on my birthday! It should be a lot of fun.

And if MM gets lucky at the sports book, or I hit a jackpot on the slots, we may end up paying for the whole trip!

Yep, MM is definitely a keeper.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lovely Monday


I hope I didn't offend anyone with my last post. It was cathartic for me to get those thoughts down in writing. And talking with people who read it reminded me that, as bad as 2009 has been, it could have been a lot worse. I really do have more good than bad in my life, and I am fully aware of it. It's just that the bad has been so soul-sucking for a while that it's easy to lose sight of that fact.

I have written here at length about my current discontent (which does not stem from my marriage or any of the relationships in my life), and am not going to write any more about it today. It can most easily be summed up by saying that I am spending the majority of my time these days doing things I'd rather not do, or at least in a way I'd prefer not to do them, rather than spending my time doing things I want and achieving the goals I'd like to.

Anyway. . . . that's still where I'm at.

For reasons that are absolutely a mystery to me, I woke up feeling exhausted and with a headache this morning after 8 hours of sleep. I seem to wake up tired more days than not lately. {sigh}

Could I get a weekend do-over?

But despite my lack of verve, I have a lot of stuff to do. So I'd better get to it!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Christmas letter I wanted to write

[Note: I would obviously never REALLY send this out as my Christmas letter. In years past, I have really enjoyed writing and sending a Christmas letter, but it was always with a positive spin. I didn't write one this year. Perhaps when you read what I've written here--in jest--you'll understand why.]

As usual, 2009 has been an eventful year.

In January, to kick off the new year, we embarked on a series of invasive testing at a well-respected local fertility clinic. After multiple canceled and rescheduled appointments with our very popular doctor, having been told that he could find nothing wrong with either of us except that my eggs are "old," I started using traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture in an attempt to achieve pregnancy without medical intervention. Three months later, after spending thousands of dollars and enduring weekly sessions with acupuncture needles and three-times-a-day teas with the foulest tastes and smells imaginable, we resigned ourselves to having to use the fertility clinic's services.

As you can see only MM, the dogs, and I here in our family photo, you have probably already guessed that, despite the months of fertility drugs and frustration and thousands of dollars spent, we are still childless. (And no, I am not pregnant in the photo, just fat.) In early August, just a couple of weeks after the dogs' overdose (more on that later), I got my first-ever positive pregnancy test, only to find out within the same day that I was having an early miscarriage. We hope it is not the only positive pregnancy test we will ever see, but who knows?

On a related note, I'd like to extend my congratulations to the twelve people who announced their pregnancies this year--one the day after my miscarriage was diagnosed--and the fifteen people we know who welcomed their first child into the world in 2009. And especial kudos to the two friends who managed to accomplish both the birth of a child AND another pregnancy this year! You know who you are. . . .

In February, in an attempt to preserve my sanity, I started a hobby I had long wanted to pursue: learning to play the piano. I took lessons for a few months until I had to quit them in July due to incurring over $5500 in vet bills in a short period of time (more about how that happened later).

In early March, my dog Sebastian went for his yearly check-up and was diagnosed with mitral valve insufficiency. His vet could not say how quickly his disease will progress to congestive heart failure, but it is incurable; only its symptoms can be treated when necessary.

Later in March, MM and I traveled to New York City where we spent a long weekend with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew in a beautiful luxury guest condo in Hoboken, just a short ferry ride across the river from Manhattan. MM enjoyed his first visit to the city, and it was great to spend some time with my little nephew Rowan again.

In April, I was honored to be asked to serve as a godmother for my friend C's son, W. MM was kind enough to attend the baptism, and it was the first time we had ever been in a church together.

We took a trip to San Antonio in May, where we visited with friends R and N and their toddler son, and spent a relaxing weekend at a local resort the first weekend in June.

In early May, we adopted a second golden retriever from Sebastian's rescue group. Hunter (pictured on the right in our photo) had been used as a stud in someone's backyard breeding operation and had never lived in a house prior to coming into the rescue group's care. After a period of bad health which included a bout of kennel cough and surgery for an ear flap hematoma, recovery from which was complicated by right-sided facial paralysis and skin excoriation from the bandages, by late June, Hunter was doing well.

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks after having the stitches taken out of his ear, Hunter broke a bone at the base of his tail in a collision with another dog. We did not realize the extent of his injury until he became aggressive with Sebastian. Once his fracture was diagnosed, he was put on two strong painkillers and was doing well, until one evening when I arrived home from work to discover that the dogs had overdosed on his NSAID painkiller. Both dogs required a trip to the emergency vet hospital and a 48-hour hospitalization on IVs with periodic lab work to prevent kidney and liver failure. Sebastian had to return to the vet less than 24 hours after discharge due to a suspected perforated ulcer, which was ruled out by a barium swallow study.

We were fortunate that Hunter's rescue group paid for his ear flap surgery and kennel cough treatment. Unlucky for us, we had to pay for his tail fracture and both dogs' overdose-related vet bills ourselves. As a result, I had to cut back on all unnecessary spending, and we had to table the idea of traveling anywhere fun for the holidays.

We also learned that Hunter is afraid of fireworks when he tried to claw his way through our front door and the surrounding drywall on July 4th while we were out at a friend's. We now know that he is also afraid of thunder and will react similarly to that type of noise. Bob the Handyman became our friend during his two trips to our home to repair the damage Hunter caused. What a nice guy!

Hunter and Sebastian are friends now and doing fine, thanks to some help from dog trainer Brad, who came to our home to work with them during a period in July when they were fighting and we thought they might kill one another. After getting bitten on the arm while breaking up their first middle-of-the-night tussle, I developed a huge hematoma on my right arm that led to multiple doctors' visits and even an MRI when pain in my arm persisted and a small lump in my forearm never went away. (My arm is much better now, though I still have some deep scarring.)

September saw us traveling to the DC area for vacation and to attend Rowan's baptism. We got to visit with my law school friends W and his wife, and K and her husband and two toddlers, while we were there. We did a lot of sightseeing and had a great trip. It may be our last trip to DC for a while because my sister is relocating.

In the current state of the economy, we are glad to report that MM and I are both still employed at the same jobs as last year. We managed to make it to our first wedding anniversary in November without infidelity, divorce, death or other catastrophe. I continue to volunteer as a CASA and now also manning the information line for the goldens' rescue group. MM continues to say that if/when we win the lottery, he will donate 90% of the money to charity.

Our parents are all still around, despite my father-in-law's bouts of diverticulitis and shingles, my mother-in-law's back and hip pain, my dad's many chronic health problems, and my mom's quirkiness and frequent cross-country travel. We see the M's regularly, we just visited my father and stepmother in Las Cruces for Thanksgiving, and my mom spent nearly three months at our house last winter and will be returning in February 2010.

We will be spending Christmas at home, licking our wounds. (Just kidding.)

All our best for a joyful holiday season.

M & S

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Boys

Here is a photo I considered sending out in the Christmas cards rather than taking a "family" photo. However, MM said that, as pathetic as it is to send out photos of us with our dogs, it would be even more pathetic to send out photos of the dogs alone.

I took this picture of the boys the day after Sebastian's recent 8th birthday. The occasion was not just his birthday but also that they had been to the groomer that day (note the black-and-orange Halloween bow visible on Sebastian's collar).

Hunter is on the left and Sebastian is on the right. Aren't they handsome?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Happy Holidays

My sister suggested I share our Christmas card photo on the blog, so here it is.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the B-M household. (Sebastian has the red bow; Hunter has the green.)

Monday, December 07, 2009

Holiday Cheer

In the interest of posting something a little more upbeat, I bring you our holiday decorating, such as it is. . . . .

Isn't our tree little? It is artificial; we bought it 50% off at the local hardware store just before Christmas last year. Neither of us wants anything bigger--there just isn't space--and we don't want to hassle with a real tree and its pine needle shedding.

Note the tree skirt. It is satin with hand-sequining and was made by MM's now-deceased paternal grandmother.

A close-up of one of my favorite ornaments. Two guesses on where/when we bought this surfing Santa. . . .

Here's another ornament I bought on clearance at Hallmark after Christmas last year. I like it 'cause it has a little wedding photo of us in it. (The ornaments visible to the right are a couple of the Wizard of Oz-themed ones MM has had since childhood. His mom gave us all his ornaments after we got married; there are too many to fit on this tree!)

Saturday, December 05, 2009


213.2 (<-- go figure: I ate a big, sodium-and-fat-laden takeout meal for dinner last night)

Lately I feel stuck. Although there are many good things in my life and I am able, at least on an intellectual level, to acknowledge them, I am once again feeling that I am not where I want to be in my life. For weeks, I have felt that I am suffering from a mild depression; nothing serious enough to have a significant impact on my daily life, but just feeling joyless and like I am going through the motions.

It seems to be a feature of my personality, or a recurrent theme in my life, or something, that at least every few years I find myself feeling restless and unsatisfied. In the past, this feeling has seemed to stem from external sources and situations: an unfulfilling job, a bad relationship or prolonged singlehood, lack of friends in the city where I was living. Now, from the vantage point of having nearly reached middle age (40 is only a little more than 15 months away for me), I am beginning to wonder if I am the problem. That no matter where I live, what I'm doing for a living, or who is in my life, I am going to periodically having this feeling of being stuck.

When I was just out of college, in my early 20s, I had a 2-year relationship with R. We lived together for most of our relationship, and I can truly say that he was my closest friend during that time also (and constituted the majority of my social life). Our relationship was solid and, really, the first romantic involvement I'd had up to that point which was not dysfunctional in some way. R was loving, respectful, supportive, you name it. . . an all-around great guy and great boyfriend.

Yet in spite of the stability of our relationship and R's many sterling qualities, I always knew on some level that I would not stay with him long-term, that our relationship would not lead to marriage. (Sadly, he did not know this, but that's another post.) At the time, I believed that marrying R would be "settling" because he wasn't ambitious or educated, was of average intelligence, and was content for life to simply continue as it was indefinitely. I shared none of those characteristics. We were also from vastly different backgrounds: he was Navajo and had been raised on the reservation by his non-English-speaking, traditional grandmother.

More than our superficial differences, I felt that we were mismatched on a deeper level, that he would never truly "get" me, and that if we married, I would end up dissatisfied with the direction my life had taken. R accepted me just as I was. . . which sounds like a good thing, but given the fact that *I* wasn't satisfied with myself, I thought that he would hold me back.

In the (many) years since my break-up with R, I have realized what a blessing it is to be content with your life as it is, as R was. I've realized that the problem was not him; it was me. (As a side note, I will say here that R has been happily married for over nine years to a doctor who adores him; they have two adorable little girls together, and he was a good stepdad to her now-19-year-old son.)

[Lest you begin thinking at this point that I regret not marrying R, or that I am in some way discontent in my relationship with MM, let me assure you that neither is the case. My marriage is fine. I made the best decision I could make about R at the time when I made it, and I have not regretted it. I share this story merely as an example of my pattern of dissatisfaction with the (perfectly good) things in my life.]

I am fortunate to be married to a great guy. We live in a comfortable home with two wonderful golden retrievers who bring a smile to my face every single day. We are both employed in full-time jobs with benefits and earn enough money to meet our basic needs and then some.

My parents are still living, and I have a good relationship with both of them. I have a sister and nephew whom I love, though I don't get to see them as often as I would like. My in-laws are terrific people who are completely "no drama" and have unreservedly welcomed me into the family.

I have some great friends, near and far, who are there when I need a shoulder to cry on or someone to just gab with. I am able to donate my time (and sometimes my money) to charitable causes. My health is pretty good, obesity and high blood pressure and cholesterol aside. (Yes, those are raising my risk for future disease, but luckily, they haven't caught up with me yet.)

If pinned down and asked to name the precise source(s) of my current discontent, I could come up with three things: my weight (always an issue on some level), my inability to have a baby, and my job. . . . not necessarily in that order.

I have talked about my weight on this blog ad infinitum. I am not going to beat that long-dead horse today.

I have talked less about our difficulties in having a baby. Yes, I mentioned here that I went off the pill in April 2008, but I haven't written much else on the topic. To make a long story short, we have been "trying" since that time, nearly a year and eight months now. The only thing we have to show for it is wasted time, wasted money and frustration. I had one very, very early miscarriage in August 2009, and other than that, no results whatsoever, despite the use of medical intervention.

I really don't have much more to say on this topic, and there is no advice anyone can give me that will improve that situation one iota. It is what it is.

I have occasionally written about my job here as well, specifically, my dislike of having to bill my time. I realize that this is a necessary evil of civil practice and that the only way my firm makes money is when clients pay for the time we spend working on their matters. I thought that as I gained experience in civil practice and increased my workload and responsibilities, the billable hours would come. That has been true to a certain extent, but I still find it onerous and contrary to finding a productive flow to have to track all my time, all day long, in tenth-of-an-hour increments.

Although when I was hired I was told that my monthly billing goal was a "recommendation," now because I have consistently failed to meet that goal in all but a few months, I am in a situation where my salary will be adjusted down proportionally in any month that I do not meet my target. What fun.

There are other frustrations as well. I work for four different partners, and each has a different workstyle and expects different things from me. On the plus side, they are all nice guys, not one jerk in the bunch. There are the inevitable interpersonal conflicts with some of the administrative staff in the office which I'd have no matter where I worked. None of these, in isolation, would be enough to make me want to change jobs.

The work I do is a mix of interesting and boring. On weeks when I am attending or taking a lot of depositions--and thus interacting with other people--I like my job. On weeks where the bulk of time is spent sitting at my desk, writing, reviewing documents or doing legal research, I like my job less. I am the most junior attorney in the firm, which means that I get stuck with a fair number of undesirable assignments.

I have philosophical differences with a major client of one of the partners. This client is a governmental entity, with all the expected bureaucracy and employee turnover, but more than that, my knowledge of some of its practices, gained through representing it in litigation, has made me wish we did not represent it. (I can't say more than that.)

The mild-to-moderate discontent I am currently experiencing about my job does not even approach the level of discontent I had with nursing before deciding to go to law school. In the main, I still like being a lawyer. I know that any job as a lawyer is going to involve a lot of reading, writing and research; I know that I will occasionally disagree with the philosophies and beliefs of the party I represent; I know that there is no "perfect" situation.

And yet. I miss having more personal interaction in my job, and I hate billing my time.

Where many people in my position would just suck it up and find a way to tolerate the things they didn't like, I feel almost compelled to seek out a better situation for myself. (Though given the current economy and job market, I am probably going to have to just suck it up, at least for the foreseeable future.) I'm not quite sure what might suit me better, though.

And I have to come back to my original conclusion: that it's not the job, it's me. Have I not found myself to be eventually discontented in every professional position I've ever held? The longest I have worked for any employer post-college is three years, and that was for a company that sent me on a different job assignment every 3-6 months.

Given what I now realize about myself, is it realistic to think that changing jobs is the answer?

I don't know. I hate this feeling of being stuck, though, and in the past, the only way I have found to get past it is to change some things. I don't want to change any of my relationships; I own a house and am not in a position to relocate; and I can't do anything about my lack of fertility. So what else could I change?

Oh yeah, I guess I could try working on the whole weight/health thing. 'Cause that's something I've found myself to be really successful with in the past. (I mean that sarcastically, in case you couldn't tell.)

Maybe the solution is intensive therapy (which, by the way, I can't really afford). Or finding God. Or who-knows-what.

Anyway. If you've gotten this far. . . . thanks for "listening."

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Peeves & Pleasures Thursday


  • Having less than $10 in my checking account until payday (tomorrow).
  • Going to the post office during the month of December
  • Non-stop Christmas music (and it's only December 3rd. . . )
  • Curling up with a good book
  • Talking with an old friend I haven't seen in years
  • Booking a flight for an upcoming trip

Wednesday, December 02, 2009



It's a sad commentary on how little I've been doing around the house lately that I felt disproportionately proud of myself last night for cleaning the bathroom sinks/vanities, dusting, loading/running the dishwasher and putting away some laundry. Thank goodness my husband is a neatnik who regularly tidies up, does dishes, and vacuums and/or mops the floors, or our house would be in a sad state. I still haven't fully unpacked from our trip to Las Cruces last week.

As it was, the only way I was able to get even that much accomplished was that MM was gone doing fieldwork, and I told myself that I had to put down my book (Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris, Sookie Stackhouse Book #6) after every chapter and do 15 minutes of something around the house. Lame. I managed to finish my book, in addition to getting those few things done, and started the next book in the series.

I haven't been to the gym in weeks. I did walk the dogs around the neighborhood last night for about 15-20 minutes, but that was more for their benefit than for mine.

I have less than $10 in my checking account right now until payday on Friday--last week's trip and Christmas shopping have temporarily tapped me out--so I am eating food I have in the house vs. going to the grocery store for more. That's meant less-than-healthful breakfasts, but no eating out, which is a good thing.

I seem to lack the motivation to do much of anything. Not that that is really a new phenomenon.

My BFF KC took our "family" holiday photo on Sunday, and I am just waiting for the prints to arrive to send out our holiday cards. They are addressed, stamped and ready to go once the photos arrive. Despite KC's best efforts, I didn't really love any of the shots she took. For one thing, the dogs were not very cooperative; for another, several angles showed my muffin top in a very unflattering way. I ended up settling on one that was acceptable but not great. Oh well, at least it's done.

Once we get our photos and send out our cards, maybe I will feel more in the holiday spirit and perk up a bit. We have yet to put up our tree or any Christmas decorations; doing that would likely help, too. I found out yesterday that I cannot visit M, my CASA child, on Saturday as planned, so I suppose that MM and I could put up the tree Saturday afternoon now.

MM has finished all his Christmas shopping--he only has to buy for his parents and me--and I have only a few gifts left to buy. I need to mail Rowan's gift, and I will buy the remaining gifts that need to be mailed online and have them shipped directly. Going to the post office this time of year is a nightmare!

MM's job duties have changed slightly, and he is now doing a lot more fieldwork. That means that he is out working at least 2-3 evenings per week, so we are seeing less of one another. Neither of us likes it. He has put in to transfer to another position that will mean no fieldwork, but it could take months. Ugh.

What a boring post.

Monday, November 30, 2009



I'm still feeling disinclined to blog but wanted to check in--in case anyone actually still reads my blog--and say that I'm alive and things are going fine.

MM and I spent Thanksgiving with my dad and stepmom in New Mexico. We all got along fine, and our travel was uneventful. Last Saturday was our first wedding anniversary. MM sent me a beautiful mixed bouquet of flowers to commemorate the occasion, and he was smart enough to send it several days early so that I could enjoy the flowers before leaving town. Hard to believe we have already been married a year!

I gained some weight over the weekend, but I'm not surprised. I'm at the point in my cycle where I'd normally retain water, in addition to flying and eating less healthfully than usual. I predict that by next week, the scale will be back to the 213-214 range without much real effort on my part.

Today it's back to work after four days off. I could've used another four. I think I need to start looking in earnest for another lawyering gig.

And on that note, I need to get crackin' on some billable work. Ugh.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wah. . . .


(No Peeves & Pleasures today because in my current mood, I would only be listing peeves)

I woke up with a migraine Tuesday morning at 5:30, and it has been present to some degree or another ever since then. Even as I type this, I have a dull throbbing in my head and feel "off." In addition, I started my period early Wednesday morning and have had some bad cramps. Lovely.

Nevertheless, I have continued to work, including a 360-mile round trip on Tuesday to attend two depositions, a deposition yesterday afternoon, and stuff in the office yesterday morning and today. I would love to just go home and lie in a dark room, but I need to work, and I haven't found lying in a dark room to be all that effective the past two evenings anyway.

I have scheduled a massage for 3:30 this afternoon in hopes that it will help my headache. I will have to come back to the office after and/or come in Sunday to make up the time, but I hope it will be worth it.

Needless to say, on day 3 of a three-day migraine, I am not exactly on top of my game or in the best of moods. I have not gone to the gym this week, though that had been my intention since Tuesday and my bag is packed and in my office. My eating has been so-so; mostly, I have been eating a lot less than usual because I have had nausea off and on.

I've hardly seen MM at all this week: he was home late Monday, when I had to go to bed early to get up early and drive to Kingman; he was out working until after I went to bed Tuesday night; and I saw him last night for about an hour before I went to bed. I am hoping to be able to spend some time with him tonight because he has to do field work again on Friday evening, but at this point, I'm not sure that I'll be very good company.

The fun continues tomorrow, when I have to drive to Tucson for another deposition. I will also be stopping by to visit M while I am there and taking her some pants I bought for her, so though I'm not looking forward to the drive, it promises to be a fruitful trip in a few ways.

I wish I didn't get headaches. I hate days like this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not feelin' it


As anyone who is still reading has probably guessed from my lack of recent posts, I continue to not feel much like blogging. (I also still haven't written a single word for NaNoWriMo. One more broken promise to myself. . . ) Again, my lack of interest isn't due to being particularly busy or anything else I can pinpoint. It just is.

I am proud to note that, despite the fact that I have not been going to the gym more than once or twice a week for the past month, my weight continues to stay about the same. I was 213.0 on 11/4, and I was the same weight this morning. It would be nice to see the scale moving down, but given my effort of late--or lack thereof--I will take maintenance.

I really have made an effort to eat "cleaner" for the past several weeks. That is not to say that I have been 100%, or that I have in any way limited portion sizes, or that I am eating enough fruits and vegetables. I have done pretty well about eliminating (most) processed foods and sugar from my diet, though. Baby steps.

As usual, I feel better when I limited my "white" carbs and eat more lean protein. I feel especially good on the days when I get in at least five servings of fruits and vegetables. I waver between enthusiasm for eating right, which leads to better planning and results, and laziness, which inclines me to choose quicker, easier food options. (NOT fast food: just not the healthiest choice.)

I saw a TV show the other day that really inspired me to get back into weight lifting. Alas, the next two evenings I had commitments, and the next day that I had an opportunity to get to the gym and turn my inspiration into action, the moment had passed. ;-)

MM has had some recent changes in his job that have led to his working more in the evenings, and that has played a factor in my going to the gym less as well. Sad to "blame" my husband for this, but I admit that the fact that I know he is going to work out five days a week often motivates me to go to the gym also. When that is lacking, or when our schedules don't mesh, it's just one more excuse not to work out.

This week will be a busy one for me. I am slated to travel out of town for depositions tomorrow, Thursday and Friday. (Just to other cities in Arizona, nowhere exciting.) All that time in the car is going to make it less likely that I'll be going to the gym. Such is life.

I wish I could be an inspiration and a motivator, but lately I have a hard time even motivating and inspiring myself.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



  • Partners who think that the assignment they have given me is the only, and/or most important, thing I have to get done
  • People who don't return phone calls or answer letters
  • People who don't do their jobs
  • Having the whole bed to myself
  • High-thread-count sheets
  • Cheese

Monday, November 09, 2009

Proust Questionnaire

Once again, I lifted this from someone else's blog. (She did, too.)

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Hmm, tough one. To live a life with meaningful work to do, and loving family and friends and dogs around me, with enough money to meet all my basic needs without difficulty.

What is your greatest fear?
That, at the end of my life, I will feel that it was meaningless.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
My tendency to procrastinate

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

On what occasion do you lie?
I rarely lie. For one thing, morality notwithstanding, I'm horrible at it! I might lie to spare someone's feelings if I thought s/he couldn't handle hearing the truth at that moment.

What is your greatest extravagance?

What is your current state of mind?

What is the quality you most like in a man?
Sense of humor.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Whatever. The F word

When and where were you happiest?
The happiest time of my life was during my second year of law school. I was loving school and the daily intellectual stimulation; was surrounded by great friends with a busy social life; was eating healthier and exercising more than nearly any other time as an adult; and Sebastian was quite young. I was far enough along in school not to be stressed out and not far enough along to be worrying yet about taking the bar and finding a "real" job.

Who are your favorite writers?
John Grisham, Victoria Holt, Dean Koontz, just to name a few.

Which talent would you most like to have?

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be?
I would have liked to have had another sibling or two, probably a brother.

If you died and came back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A well-loved golden retriever.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
My weight.

Where would you like to live?
Cost no object? northern California coast

What is your most treasured possession?
My golden retrievers, though I don't really think of them as possessions. If not them, then the list is too long to choose one item. I have many beloved items from both my grandmothers that are irreplaceable.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Self pity.

What do you most value in your friends?
Honesty, loyalty, and sense of humor

What are your favorite names?
I prefer not to share them here. The last time we mentioned one of the names MM and I like to anyone, MM's coworker used it for her bulldog puppy!

What is it that you most dislike?
Worrying about money.

What is your greatest regret?
That I didn't choose a career that was a good fit for my personality and talents while I was in college.

How would you like to die?
In my sleep, sometime in my 90s.

What is your motto?
If I have one, I think it's something like "Make use of the gifts you've been given." (I had a therapist once in my 20s who said my motto was "Be all you can be," like the U.S. Army commercials.)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

DC trip

Here is my long-delayed post about our trip to northern Virginia/DC in September.

The day after we arrived, Rowan was baptized, and I was the godmother. (The godfather was V's husband's stepdad; he is the only adult male they know who is a practicing Catholic and is also one of Rowan's favorite people, so it made sense.) Rowan behaved very well, all things considered. He had to sit through an hour-long mass prior to the baptism, so we were there over two hours, all told.

Just after the deacon poured the water on his head, he said "I got baptized!" All the other parents (all of young infants) laughed; it was quite cute. As his father was carrying him away from the font so that the next baby could take his turn, he said "I get baptized again!" So I guess he liked it!

Here is a photo of him giving a "high five" right after being baptized:

Rowan also modeled his Halloween costume for us, which he picked out himself. In case it's not obvious, he is an old-time golfer. He had a matching golf bag with clubs, too.

Rowan "flexing" at Uncle MM's request:

My mom was at V's also for Rowan's baptism, and it was good to see her, too. She had headed home to Ohio by the time MM and I returned for our second weekend at V's.

Here is a photo I took of Mom and V that I especially like:

On Monday morning, we drove into the city with my sister and got an early start on our day. First, we visited Ford's Theater, where President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. MM and his parents had visited Ford's Theater before, but it had been closed for remodeling during our July 2008 visit to the city; I had never been there. We both quite enjoyed it.

We also visited Peterson House across the street and saw the bedroom where Lincoln actually died from his injuries the following morning.

We then visited the nearby International Spy Museum. Going there was my idea because neither of us had ever been there, I had seen it listed on a few different Top Ten Things to See in DC lists, and it was just blocks from Ford's Theater and from our hotel. I enjoyed it, but MM did not.

We still had the afternoon and headed over to the National Museum of American History, a favorite of both mine and MM's which was also closed for remodeling during our July 2008 visit.

After visiting the National Museum of American History, we decided to walk over and visit the World War II Memorial. It was not included on the "Monuments by Moonlight" tour we took in July 2008, and neither of us had seen it before.

I didn't bring my camera with me on Monday's outing, so I only have one crappy shot from my BlackBerry of MM at the WWII Memorial:

By the time we were finished walking around the WWII Memorial, we both had tired, sore feet, and the evening rush hour was starting, so we headed back to our hotel. We had a quick dinner at a casual dining restaurant not far from our hotel. After dinner, we walked down to the White House, both because we wanted to see how it looked at night and because we wanted to make sure that we knew how to get there for our tour on Tuesday morning.

Tuesday morning was our White House tour. Despite the fact that I had visited DC 8-9 previous times, I had never visited the White House; neither had MM. (Why is kind of a long story.) The tour was slightly disappointing: we knew we'd only see the public areas on the East Wing but didn't realize that our tour group would be so large that it would be difficult to move around in the rooms--most of which were roped off to avoid visitors touching furniture and articles in them--and that we would be rushed through. The entire tour took less than 45 minutes start to finish and was led by a young Secret Service agent who, it seemed, wished that he'd been given any other assignment but this one.

We were done by 10:00 a.m. and after a quick trip back to the hotel to fetch my camera (they aren't allowed in the White House), we took the Metro out to Arlington National Cemetery. I had visited the Cemetery twice before--once in 1995, on my first adult trip to DC, and once in 2002, when my mom and I were in town for V's law school graduation--and MM had visited it once in 1995, but we both wanted to see it again.

We got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns, always impressive:

We stopped off near George Washington University/Foggy Bottom for lunch. (MM got a crappy vendor hot dog, while I was lucky enough to locate a Chick-Fil-A in the student union.) We then headed back to our hotel for some rest before dinner.

That night we met my friend W and his wife for dinner. W and I became friends in law school. We were especially close during my third year. (So close, in fact, that some of her mutual acquaintances thought we were "an item," though our relationship has always been purely platonic.) I have kept in touch with W over the years since he moved away from Tucson to join the Army JAG, including a year-long stint in Iraq. We hadn't seen each other in over five years, and I had never met his wife, whom he married in October 2006. (I couldn't attend their wedding.) The four of us had a really fun time together.

Don't he and his wife make a cute couple?

Wednesday morning, MM wanted to check out the National Museum of Crime and Punishment which he had spotted on our way to dinner the night before. (Not surprising, considering he was a criminal justice major and is a history buff and a probation officer.) I wanted to save my energy for the afternoon, so I chilled at a nearby Starbucks while he checked it out.

After the National Museum of Crime and Punishment, which MM quite enjoyed, we headed to MM's favorite pizzeria for lunch: Armand's, conveniently located near Capitol Hill. No trip to DC would be complete for MM without eating at Armand's!

Wednesday afternoon was our Capitol Tour. Before heading to the Capitol, we visited our Senator's office so that we could get gallery tickets. We also walked around a little in the Senate office buildings because MM was hoping to see someone famous. (He didn't. The only famous person sighting of the week was when we saw Jesse Jackson in the lobby of the hotel adjacent to my sister's office building on Friday.)

The Capitol Tour was good, but for someone like me who toured the Capitol pre-9/11, a little disappointing. Our guide was very knowledgeable and had an obvious interest in history; in fact, we learned that he had a master's degree in history. The building was beautiful and impressive. The disappointing part was that you are watched like you're going to steal or vandalize the building and are not allowed to roam freely at all. (Also, we had to watch a LAME film about the different branches of government before starting the tour. Anyone who had taken a high school civics class wouldn't have found this to be new information. I told MM that I thought they should allow visitors to test out of it. LOL)

The (many) photos I took of the Capitol do not really do it justice, and I'm sure many (if not all) of you have seen it yourselves, either in person or in photos.

Wednesday night, at MM's suggestion, we went to a Capitals pre-season game. We were able to get great seats from a scalper for only $20 a ticket:

The game was vs. the Chicago BlackHawks and was very fun. One of the best players in NHL, Alexander Ovechkin, plays for the Capitals. It was also just a short Metro ride from our hotel, so we weren't out terribly late.

By Thursday morning, we were both quite tired of walking around. Though it wasn't hot, it was humid, and our feet hurt. At first, we had a hard time agreeing on how to spend the day because we'd both already done and see basically everything we wanted to do on this trip to the city. After checking out of our hotel room, we went to the National Portrait Gallery, which is just a couple of blocks from my sister's office building. (We only saw about half of it, but it is very cool and definitely worth a visit.) Then in the afternoon, we wanted to sit and relax somewhere, so we went to movies and saw The Informant! Once the workday ended, we rode with V back out to their home in northern Virginia to spend the rest of the visit with them.

Friday morning, we drove into DC with V and took Rowan to meet friends KH and JH and their two little ones at the National Zoo. This outing was Rowan's first-ever with just Auntie S and Uncle MM, no Mama and Daddy. Given that he is firmly in the defiant 2-almost-3-year-old stage, it was an interesting day, with a lot of crying and meltdowns.

Rowan loved the Metro ride to the zoo. He enjoyed the first trip to the panda habitat and seeing the baby gorilla. Other than that, his two favorite parts of the zoo were the Pizza Garden play area and the ice cream cone he got near the end of the day. (At one point, he told me "I don't WANT to see the animals!")

Saturday morning, I got up early (while MM slept in) to go with V and Rowan to SoccerTots. He was so cute! (Two guesses who bought him his Diamondbacks T-shirt. . . )

Saturday evening, V and her husband attended a friend's wedding while MM and I watched Rowan. He behaved much better for us on Saturday afternoon/evening than he did on Sunday; I think he had learned what he could get away with (not much), and I'm sure it helped that he was at home and not in a new place with lots of attractive, and dangerous, things to explore. We watched the movie Bolt, which we had brought for him. He liked it, but thought parts of it were "scawy."

Don't my sister and her husband look nice all dressed up?

Sunday morning, the men slept in again while V and I took Rowan to brunch and to play at a nearby park. I enjoyed getting to spend a little more time with them before we had to fly home that afternoon.

And that was our trip! We packed a lot of sightseeing into a relatively short period of time. It will probably be our last trip to DC for a while because V has accepted a new position, starting January 1, that means a move to North Carolina for them. Selfishly, MM and I are sad that we will no longer be visiting them in DC, but we'll survive. ;-)

Thursday, November 05, 2009


  • Billing my time (yes, I've mentioned it before; it bears repeating)
  • Pregnancy announcements on Facebook (I admit that I am probably just bitter. . . )
  • Finding out a friend is pregnant by receiving an invitation to her shower (this has actually happened to me three times in the past 6 months)
  • 90+ daytime highs in NOVEMBER (enough already with the heat!)
  • Coloring my hair (although, at this point, perhaps more a necessity: gotta cover those grays. . . . )
  • Checking items off my "to do" list
  • "Found" money (ex: we had an "escrow overage" and received an unexpected check for nearly $1000!)
  • Red nail polish (toes only for me)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009



I seem disinclined to blog of late. I *have* been busy, but normally that would not stop me; I tend to find the time to do the things I enjoy, no matter how busy I am. (Sometimes to the detriment of things I *have* to do, like work. Ahem.)

I really don't know why I've not been in a blogging mood. I still haven't even finished the entry I started about our trip to DC at the end of September, and let's face it: probably no one will want to read it now 'cause it's old news!

I am fine. Life is good. I have had some fun times lately and have many more things I am looking forward to (visit with my dad in a few weeks; a trip to Albuquerque to see an old friend in January; hockey games and comedy club later this month).

I guess maybe this is a case of "no news is good news."

P.S. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, the goal of which is to write a rough, first draft of a novel by writing a little bit each day for 30 days during November. (I also have a very clever kit which my sister gave me for my 38th birthday to aid me in writing a novel in 30 days.) Today is November 4, and I have yet to write a single word. I suck.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Peeves & Pleasures Thursday

(Love how I've failed to make this a true weekly feature on the blog. . . . )

  • Rapid changes in the weather, i.e., a 20-degree temperature difference from one day to the next
  • Having something planned EVERY SINGLE EVENING for a week (all fun stuff, and it sounds great. . . but it's just exhausting)
  • Bloat
  • Catching up with old friends
  • True "fall" weather in Phoenix: temps in the 60s, a little breeze. . . love that "nip" in the air
  • Paying off a debt in full

Friday, October 23, 2009

Happy birthday, Sebastian

Today is my dog's 8th birthday! Though I've noticed him slowly becoming less active over the past couple of years (which we now know is due to mitral valve insufficiency), it's hard to believe he is 8.

Sebastian, you have brought me more joy over the years you've been my dog than many of the people I know. If I could find a way to bottle what makes you happy all the time, I could make millions. . . .

Here are a few of my favorite shots of "my boy" from over the 7+ years I have had him:

The day I brought him home from his rescue foster home, August 25, 2002

Taken during a professional shoot we did in December 2003

Another shot from the December 2003 shoot

On the beach in Rocky Point, July 2008

A random day with a stuffed toy, fall 2007 (pre-Hunter: they don't get stuffed toys now to avoid fights)

Welcoming Hunter and sharing his "comfort couch," May 2009 (Sebastian is the one in the back)

(oh, today's weight: 212.8 for the second consecutive day)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009



Hmm, maybe I actually AM losing some weight.

Not much to write, and not much time to write it. Yesterday was one of the few days in the past five years when I have questioned my decision to become a lawyer. I didn't get home until 10:00 p.m. And that would have been bad enough had I been working on something substantive that was necessary for a case.

Nope, I was stuck at the office until 9:30 p.m. entering billable time. Sucktastic indeed.

I really need to find another job. . . . one where I don't have to bill clients.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday, bleh


Nothing exciting to report. The arrival of this fourth Monday after my recent vacation, and my reaction to its arrival, is bringing home to me the fact that I need to consider other employment. Nothing specific; just well into the "don't wanna be here" phase with my job.

Today's weight is my lowest since August 12th, so that's a good thing. BUT I won't believe it's a real loss--vs. just a fluctuation in a positive direction--until/unless the number on the scale continues to move down.

I have a plan for exercise this week: to the gym on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning, where I will do a 20-minute interval workout on the elliptical trainer and some upper body weights, as well as 10 minutes of stretching. (My right piriformis is acting up again.)

Anyhoo. Hope other folks are off to a better start to the week. . . .

Thursday, October 15, 2009

And now, the numbers. . .


I got a call from my doctor's office late yesterday to let me know the results of the (fasting) labwork for which blood was drawn at my annual physical on Monday. On a positive note, my fasting glucose and blood chemistries, thyroid panel, and complete blood count were all normal. So I have no thyroid problems, no diabetes or pre-diabetes, no liver or kidney function problems, and no anemia.

On the not-so-positive side, my lipid panel showed the following:

  • Total cholesterol: 233 (should be less than 200)
  • LDL: 171 (should be less than 130)
  • HDL: 35 (should be more than 45)
  • Triglycerides: 163 (should be less than 150)
Compared to last year's numbers, there really isn't a HUGE difference. My total cholesterol and triglycerides are slightly lower, but my LDL is higher and my HDL is slightly down. These are still numbers that double my risk of cardiac disease.

My doctor told me to "maintain" my ideal body weight, exercise 5-6 days a week, and eat healthfully. (Hmm, where have I heard that before?) He also told me that if my numbers remain high, I will eventually have to go on a statin to lower them. However, I can't take statins while there is a chance I may become pregnant, so unless I go on birth control (not going to happen) or reach menopause (not for a few more years, I hope), that option is tabled for now.

I have my gym bag packed and have told MM that I will meet him there at 6:15.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Progress not perfection


I've posted here often about how "the more things change, the more they stay the same." I seem to run up against the same issues again and again. Nearly four years into starting this blog, I continue to struggle with disorganization, at home and at work, and, even more notably, with my weight.

BUT. . . the odd dream I had last Thursday night about my ex-boyfriend from college got me thinking a little about the past. (I've actually mentioned this ex in a post before, where I referred to him as Pig Farmer, so I will continue to refer to him as "PF" for simplicity's sake.) Upon further reflection, in thinking back to my relationship with PF and where I was in my life when he was in it, I realized that things have changed a lot. *I* have changed.

I first met PF in the fall of 1988, during my first semester of college. Our initial relationship only lasted a few months, but with the naivete of someone who is 17 years old and having regular sex for the first time, I believed we were "in love." He was discharged from the Army and went back home to eastern Kentucky while I remained in New Mexico. We didn't have a true long distance relationship, in that we didn't keep in constant contact. But we did keep in contact sporadically, and in the fall of 1991, he came back to attend college at my school. Our relationship resumed when he returned--actually, I flew to Kentucky to visit him less than a month before he moved back--and continued until the early spring of 1992.

In 1991/92, I was dead broke. Financial worries literally kept me awake at night. Just going to the grocery store for ramen noodles and beans often took more cash than I had on hand. I could only work part-time, due to my full-time class schedule, and good part-time jobs were hard to come by in the town where I went to college. I usually earned only a little more than minimum wage and worked no more than 30 hours a week.

My parents didn't really help me. My mom let me live with her a couple of times when my financial situation was especially desperate, and my dad sometimes had me over for dinner, but neither she nor my father gave me any money for school or to support myself. (Living with my mom and stepdad put a strain on those relationships, too, and was to be avoided when possible.) I was very much "on my own."

Also, by the time PF and I reunited in 1991, for the first time in my life, my relationship with my father was seriously strained. My dad remarried when I was 18, and for the first few years of his marriage, he and his wife had a rocky relationship: she left him twice within the first nine months of their marriage. I didn't care for her, not because she wasn't a perfectly nice person, but because she just wasn't (and isn't) my cup of tea, and I didn't like the person my dad was when he was with her. Some might argue that he was a *better* person, but all I cared about was that he was a different person than the dad who had raised me, the dad I loved.

In 1991/92, I didn't know where I was going professionally. I'd started college with the conviction that I would become a doctor, without knowing much about how to achieve that goal or what being a doctor would actually be like. As I got farther along in my pre-med requisites, began educating myself about what becoming a physician would entail and what the realities of that life choice would be, and prepared to take the MCAT, I became more and more convinced that being a doctor wasn't for me.

Officially, I was majoring in psychology, but that was only because I enjoyed the subject; I truly had no idea what I was going to do for a career. Doing anything that didn't involve at least a college education--and preferably an advanced degree--had never crossed my mind. I was at a loss.

As a result of these things--my financial difficulties, the strain between my dad and me, and my lack of career direction--I was also suffering from a lack of self-confidence. My weight/appearance had also long been an issue for me (and continued to be), but when I was secure in my family relationships, didn't have to worry about the basics of feeding and clothing myself, and felt sure about what I was going to do in life, I had had a healthy self-esteem in spite of my occasional feelings of self-loathing about my weight.

Truth be told, if I could go back in time and tell 1991 S that someday she would be the S I am today. . . . she probably wouldn't have believed it. I wouldn't say that I was depressed. . . not in the least. . . . but I was certainly at a place in my life where I couldn't imagine what my future would be like.

Now, I would never even consider dating someone like PF. He was (and is) uneducated, having barely finished high school. When we dated, at least after his discharge from the Army, he was not gainfully employed, nor was he actively seeking work. He made my lack of direction in school look like laser-focus: at least I was 3/4 of the way to earning a degree, albeit not a very useful one. He failed one class and dropped another of the four he took during his first semester of college--and attempted to conceal these facts from me.

PF also wasn't really all that attractive (though, to be fair, he was great in bed). And he wasn't always that nice to me: he stood me up once, early in our relationship, and on another occasion, made a comment about the size of my ass (which, I might add, was considerably smaller at 165-170 than it is today at close to 220). I discovered near the end that he had another girlfriend, of sorts, back home. . . . at least someone who was writing to him and sending him "care" packages (which he'd told me were from his grandma). If a man did these things to me today, I would kick his a$$ to the curb.

At 20, I didn't know or value myself enough to realize that I could do better. . . . that I DESERVED better.

It was the beginning of the end of our on-again, off-again relationship when, during a fight about his choice to hang out with some of his buddies rather than see me on a Saturday, I started talking about what I would expect from a man I would marry. When I told PF that I'd expect that man to consider me one of the most important things in his life and to prioritize his time in accordance with that feeling, to love me so much that he'd willingly put my needs before his desires, his response was that he didn't feel that way about me. . . that he'd never felt that way about any woman. . . and that he didn't think that I truly felt that way about him either.

He was right: I didn't.

I owe a lot to PF (and not just because of the hot sex). It was after this relationship that the light finally went on for me, and I never dated another loser again after him. I never tolerated much crap from any of the men I dated after him.

Honestly, raising my standards meant spending a lot more time single over the ensuing years, but I learned that I found that preferable to "settling." To aiming low. To being treated like a second-class citizen.

And it's not only my approach to my romantic relationships that has changed since then. I enrolled in the nursing program the next semester after my ultimate break-up with PF. Within two years, I finally finished college and got a "real" job. (I'll never forget how excited I was to earn $12/hour--wow! LOL) I found a way to live with my stepmom, which helped my relationship with my dad tremendously.

OK, so my career choice didn't end up being the "right" one in the sense that I found my life's calling, as evidenced by the fact that I went back to school to pursue a second career less than seven years after completing college. But I became a contributing, self-supporting member of society. An adult.

I found self-respect. I learned who I was and who I wanted to be. Ultimately, I found a man I love who is worthy of that love. . . . and yes, a man who treats me like I am one of the most important things in his life and who puts my needs before his own desires.

Yes, I am still overweight and still disorganized. But I've come a long way nonetheless.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Columbus Day


I don't "celebrate" Columbus Day--given that people had already been living in the "New World" for thousands of years before he "discovered it"--but I miss the days when I worked for the government and thus had today off.

Today is the first morning in over a week that I woke up feeling normal: not exhausted, not phlegmy (though still a little congested, little cough), no headache. Hallelujah! Seriously, I was disproportionately happy about this; I lay in bed for a few extra minutes simply feeling content and relieved.

My weekend was so-so. We stayed in on Friday night and had KFC because MM didn't want pizza. My BFF came over on Saturday as planned to help me organize our garage. It took far less time than expected and looks great. I bowed out of our plans on Saturday night with MM's friends because I just didn't have the energy to be "on" and go out to some bars after dinner. (He went without me, and it was fine.) MM and I met his parents for dinner on Sunday, and otherwise I basically did nothing: I woke up with a headache which lingered most of the day, despite multiple doses of Excedrin, decongestants and ibuprofen, and I had some gastrointestinal upset as well. (I think the GI upset was a result of days of constipation culminating in eating steel-cut oatmeal with a fiber supplement for breakfast on Sunday.) I felt OK for a few hours--just long enough to make it to the birthday dinner with the in-laws--but spent the rest of the day lying around feeling icky.

I finished reading the book The Eat-Clean Diet this weekend. I've been thinking about eating clean for some time, which is why I ordered the book. I am still seriously considering it. I'm not yet at the point of action--this recent cold has also thrown a wrench in the works--but I'm inching closer.

Much as I love carbs, I am not ignorant of the fact that eating too many of them--especially sugar or starchy carbs--makes me feel ill and saps my energy. Much as I love the convenience of eating most meals out, I know that this practice is not good for me (and also more expensive than cooking at home). Much as I love to wallow in my sloth, I know that I have so much more energy--and actually need less sleep--when I am exercising regularly.

Goodness knows, I have plenty of reasons to adopt healthier lifestyle habits. Wanting to look better doesn't even need to be on the list!

And as of my annual physical this morning, I now have another reason. For the first time ever, my blood pressure was high: 142/92. (The doctor even rechecked it himself.) When I went for my last physical in July 2008, my cholesterol and triglycerides were high. I had blood drawn this morning to recheck them, and I feel pretty sure that they will still be high, given that the only things that would have lowered them--regular exercise five days a week for 30 minutes a session and losing weight--haven't happened. (In fact, I weighed 220.5 at the doctor's office this morning, a gain from last year's physical.)

I really have a hard time understanding myself at times. I get the lack of organization in my life to a degree: I am, at heart, a pretty lazy person, and it seems to take slightly more effort to keep things orderly than to just throw my crap wherever. (I say "seems" because lack of organization can actually mean more effort in the long run, like when I can't find stuff.) I can understand why I don't like to put in the work to keep my house neat and organized.

I don't understand why I persist in eating like crap, though. As I mentioned above, and have no doubt mentioned before here, I actually feel BETTER when I eat healthfully. I know that I have a family history--on both sides--of diabetes and heart disease. As a former nurse, I am well aware of the increased risk of these diseases for me as a result of genetics alone, as well as the fact that the only risk factors I can control are lifestyle choices: whether to smoke, controlling my weight, the foods I eat, and exercise.

And yet, in spite of this knowledge, I continue my slothful ways. I take the path of least resistance and pick up breakfast at Star$ or McD's rather than prepare something healthful at home. I eat out way more often than I should. Even when I do eat at home, my choices are based more on taste and convenience than on health.

I am at least 70 pounds overweight--looking generously at the high end of my weight range--and yet I do nothing about it. Sure, I make a stab occasionally: I decide to start working out more often or cutting out white flour/sugar. But it never lasts.

My take-home message from today's doctor's appointment: I am going to have a heart attack or a stroke. Given my family history and my current state of health, this is basically a foregone conclusion. The only unknown is "When?" And whether it will be sooner or later is entirely up to me and the choices I have made and continue to make.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Weird dreams


I've had some odd dreams the past couple of nights. Wednesday night I dreamed of a law school classmate of mine and her daughter. This classmate is someone I see (and occasionally communicate with) on Fac.ebo.ok but haven't seen in real life for years. And I've never met her daughter, who is less than 2 years old. I had the sense that the dream wasn't really *about* them; nonetheless, they figured prominently in it and were the only characters from the dream whom I could clearly remember once I was awake.

Last night I had two interrelated dreams about an ex-boyfriend of mine from years ago. I hadn't thought of him in a long, long time. Neither of the dreams was sexual in nature. (Sexual dreams about this particular ex would have been less unexpected, as we had some, er, let's just say, memorable times in bed.) In the second of the dreams, his mother--from whom he was pretty much estranged when we were together--was looking for him and wanted my help to find him. She wouldn't seem to accept the fact that I haven't heard from him in about 18 years. (And oddly enough, in the dream, I found him for her. . . using the internet. LOL)

Not sure what led to these dreams. I've read from time to time that dreams represent your subconscious mind trying to work out its thoughts or solve a problem. I can't imagine why either my law school friend and her child or my ex-boyfriend from college would be on my subconscious mind! Hmmm. . . .

Maybe it's all the decongestants I've been taking. LOL

So, in typical S fashion, after dreaming of my ex last night, I had to cyber-stalk him this morning. I have google'd him on occasion in the past--along with other men from my past--and my most recent google-ing session of about two-and-a-half (or three?) years ago revealed that he was married and living in a small town less than two hours' drive from where he grew up. (Not surprising.)

This morning the first page I found was a page for him. With photos of him with his wife and daughters (though one must be a stepdaughter, given her stated age, unless he had a child on the sly while we were dating without my knowledge--not impossible, I will admit). He looks almost exactly the same (except with slightly less hair) as when I last saw him circa 1992. Wild.

Yikes. Think I'll quit google-ing and get back to work.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Care for some cheese with that w(h)ine?


I came here prepared to author a post for "Peeves & Pleasures Thursday" but found that, despite the abundance of good things in my life, I could only come up with peeves. So allow me to indulge in self pity for a brief moment instead. (If you have your own real drama and suffering in your life, feel free to skip this post.)

  • I woke up with a headache again today, and it has continued into the afternoon, despite doses of Excedrin, a pumpkin spice latte, and a diet Coke. Granted, it's not a migraine (thank goodness), but this frickin' sinus congestion that I can't seem to shake, over a week later, has made me have a headache more days than not the past week. Ugh.
  • I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I don't know how people with allergies live with this congestion all the time! I am back to sleeping (mostly) through the night, but am still waking up tired. I sound funny, and I feel worse.
  • Despite my congestion and general feelings of ickiness, I continue to eat crap. I can't remember the last time a vegetable (other than tomato, potato or lettuce) passed my lips. Even last night at Red Lobster, when faced with numerous more healthful choices, I ordered a plate composed nearly entirely of deep-fried foods. I've eaten more cheese over the past week than I care to think about. WTF is wrong with me?
  • Because I feel like crap, I haven't been to the gym in two weeks. I haven't even walked the dogs in a week. (Don't worry about them; MM walks them almost every evening, even if I don't.) I have zero energy and zero motivation.
  • Thanks to missing a day of work on Monday (due to my cold) and sub-par concentration on the other three days this week, I am already behind on my billable hours for October, and it's only the 8th. Good times.
  • Did I mention I don't feel well? And isn't funny how when you don't feel well, nothing else seems to matter?
That is all. I hope when I next decide to post, I will be a little more upbeat. If I can somehow rid my body of this crud, I hope to finish my entry about our vacation--complete with photos!--sometime this weekend.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Random stuff


I haven't finished uploading and editing my photos from our recent trip. I've actually been on the computer for very little that is not work-related since we returned.

Between being busy getting back into the routine at work, a day of travel for work (and one for my volunteer work) last week, and the nasty cold I picked up on our trip, I haven't been doing much.

I spent the majority of Sunday and Monday in bed or on the couch; the most strenuous thing I did was walk from one room to the next. I woke up last Wednesday with a scratchy throat and sniffles which by Thursday had progressed to full-on head congestion with headache and popping ears. Saturday while I was in Tucson visiting M, I felt worse and worse as the day progressed: same congestion, etc., but also felt very tired and had developed a cough coming from my chest.

I am back to about 85% of normal today: still a little congested and coughing occasionally, but my energy level is back to about normal, and most of my sinus pressure has subsided. I'm back at work, too. I'm just glad that I didn't get the H1N1 flu: I checked my temperature every four hours or so the past two days, and I never got over 98.6.

Someday soon I will share our vacation photos. (I haven't even posted them for my family to see yet!)

We were supposed to have gone out to dinner Saturday night to celebrate MM's birthday. (His actual birthday is tomorrow.) Our dinner was canceled because his dad has shingles and is in a lot of pain. I will take him out to dinner tomorrow night on our own, and we have rescheduled the family dinner for next weekend. I have to admit that I was glad dinner got moved because I felt pretty crappy myself on Saturday.

Oh, one last thing: I want to say that today is my father and stepmother's 20th wedding anniversary. Neither of them reads this blog--they don't even know I write it--but I think that twenty years of marriage is quite an accomplishment these days!

Friday, October 02, 2009

Bullet Friday

  • Looking at my Fac.ebo.ok friends list, I realized today that I know FAR too many lawyers: at least 75-80 of my 313 "friends" are lawyers. Occupational hazard, I guess.
  • I woke up Wednesday morning with a scratchy throat and the sniffles. This has evolved over the past two days into a full-blown head cold. I've hardly slept in two nights because of the congestion and feel generally miserable. Ugh.
  • MM and I are attending a birthday party tonight that I was really looking forward to. . . . but now with my cold, I just want to go to bed.
  • I can hardly believe it's already October!

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm back. . . .


MM and I returned from our vacation yesterday evening.  I had a great time!  It was wonderful seeing my sister and my nephew and spending time with them; I saw some new things in DC which I hadn't visited before, along with some old favorites (I love that city); I got to see two of my law school friends; and the weather was very good, with only one day of rain.

I will post some of the best of the photos I took when I get around to uploading and editing them.  Tonight, I hope.  I'll also talk about the sightseeing highlights of our trip for those who may be planning their own trip to DC and for preserving my memories of them.

It is possible that this trip to DC may be our last, at least for some time: my sister has been interviewing for an in-house counsel position with a major corporation which is headquartered in North Carolina.  She has been through two phone interviews so far and will be traveling to NC soon for a face-to-face panel interview.  Should she be offered and accept this position, they will be relocating to NC, giving us much less reason and opportunity to visit DC. 

Given my eating habits during our trip, I was pleasantly surprised to see the number on the scale this morning.  I am only slightly above the range where I've been hanging out for the past several months, and I know that I am retaining water because of the way my rings and shoes fit.  So on today's agenda, along with catching up at work and getting back into my routine, is water, water, water.  (I am already on my second 16-oz glass, and it's only 9:00 a.m. here.)

I've been wanting to become an early (or perhaps I should say "earlier") riser for some time, so this morning I took full advantage of the fact that my body clock is still set for the Eastern time zone.  I got up at 6:40 a.m.--which is probably not early for a lot of people, but many days I am in bed until 8:00--and took the goldens for a quick 20-minute walk in the neighborhood.  (They were full of pent-up energy: their dogsitter couldn't walk them on Saturday or Sunday because Hunter's collar mysteriously disappeared.)

I was at the office shortly before it opened at 8:30 a.m., coffee in hand and (relatively) healthful breakfast (apple slices and cheddar cheese cubes) eaten.  I had already sorted through my inbox of 164 email messages last night upon returning home, so I am now working through my paper inbox and reading and addressing the less than 40 emails that actually required a response or action from me.

I am wearing makeup and feel full of energy.  I should really do this getting up earlier thing more often!

I think MM is finally starting to rub off on me: I actually unpacked fully last night within an hour of our arrival at our house!  That is nearly unheard-of for me; often I still have packed bags a week or two after a trip, or at least until I need something I haven't unpacked.  I still need to do my laundry tonight, but it is sorted and just waiting to be stuck in the washer.

I feel refreshed and relaxed.  Wish I could take a week-long vacation once a quarter or so.  ;-)