Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The No Pants Dance

Pants are missing from my closet. Two pairs. Did I accidently leave them at the dry cleaners? Did the dry cleaner steal them? Is Ron parading around in my pants again? I wonder.

Crampin' My Style

So for years I would make half-hearted attempts to jog outside, but usually after a few minutes, I would get a stomach cramp and stop. I attributed that to being out of shape at the time. That, combined with my lack of will to jog lead me to quitting this exercise routine more than once.

Since I joined my gym a year and a half ago, I've used most of the equipment there, with the exception of the treadmill. But a few weeks ago, I decided to jump on the horse, so to speak. I started jogging at a very slow pace and invariably each time I'd get a stomach cramp. Always in the same place--just to the right of my belly button. How annoying. I was in shape now, so why was this still happening? I mean I could do an hour of eliptical or the bike, but I couldn't jog for 5 minutes?

After consulting with Ron, who used to be a fitness specialist in his former life, I decided to start out with power walking and work my way up to a short jog. I came up with a formula: 5 minutes of fast walking, 5 minutes of very fast walking, 5 minutes of a slow jog and 5 minutes of fast walking again. I did it once and it worked--no cramp! Figuring I had my method down, I tried it again another day only when I starting jogging, I also started cramping. Rats. Still I pursued the same formula and invariably I would get a stomach cramp each time, sometimes as early as the first couple of minutes while I was walking! I had never gotten a cramp just walking on the treadmill before. I consulted with Ron again who insisted that my stomach muscles weren't strong enough and that I was working myself too hard. I had to stick with walking fast only, not jogging.

Now lately, over the last two weeks or so, I've gotten a stomach cramp while walking to work! I'm a very fast walker naturally, but I wasn't walking at "power walking" pace. I had never gotten cramps just walking to work. I've started overanalyzing things: is it my posture that's causing the cramps? The way I'm breathing? Am I holding my stomach muscles in without realizing it? Am I pregnant with an alien child?

I have no idea and I'm sort of at my wit's end. I know it can't be that my stomach muscles are too weak though--I do pilates for Christ's sake, not to mention that this cramp has never popped up while walking until recently. This morning, I was cramping the entire walk to work and it hurt like hell. Someone suggested to me that it's my breathing. My breathing is a weak area for me. Even during yoga and pilates, I find it hard to coordinate my breathing the way I should.

Tonight I'm going to try the treadmill again and focus on the breathing. We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 26, 2005

My Intended

I always think Christmas ends too abruptly. Really. Even though people (including me) complain when stores start pushing the holidays before Thanksgiving, I still feel like it ends too soon. Like on the radio, for instance. I always think it's so abrupt the way the radio stations play no Christmas songs after December 25th. I can understand not playing them 24/7 the way they do up to Christmas, but when I was driving today, I would have liked an occasional Christmas song on the radio today.

Anyway, Christmas was fine. My poor Nana is going senile and she was having a particularly bad couple of day. At certain points she didn't really know where was was. She would say random things that didn't make any sense. Sometimes it provided for comic relief. Not that it's nice to laugh at your senile grandmother, but honestly, you can't not laugh at some of this stuff. Like I had gotten my grandmother a head scarf, because she's always cold and usually wraps a regular scarf around her head when outside (strangely, she refuses to wear a hat). So I put it on her, to show her how to wear it, and she left it on while she opened another present. Five minutes later, having totally forgotten anything else that preceeded, she pulled at the scarf, looked at my mother and said "Someone put a sweater on my head." Well, we all roared laughing. Not right, I know.

While she does remember that I'm getting married, she always thinks the wedding is in the next day or so and also she can't remember Ron's name. So she called him my intended. As in "Is your intended coming for dinner?" She was obsessed with my intended the last couple of days. As is very symptomatic of her condition, once she gets an idea in her head, she is fixated on it--I think because she worries that she'll forget whatever she thought of. So she got it into her head that Ron was coming for Christmas dinner. Which he wasn't. No one ever told her he was. Yet she would ask about ever 10 minutes if he was coming. I repeatedly and patiently explained that he was spending Christmas with his family. Then every so often she would ask whether the doorbell had just rung. She was convinced it had, but when we explained that, no, it had not, she wondered whether it was my intended at the door. So set was she on the idea that Ron was coming, that when I explained for the bzillionth time that he wasn't coming she said, "He has some nerve doing that to you." Because, in her mind, my intended was standing me up, I suppose.

Unfortunately, as funny as some moments are, the underlying fact that she's losing her mind is sad. My mother is at her wit's end. My grandmother is scheduled to move closer to my parents next month. She'll be moving into a regular apartment, which I don't think is a good idea. I think she'll go downhill rapidly from there--at least mentally. But, there are waiting lists for all the assisted living places my mother is considering. And she doesn't want to even talk about putting her in a nursing home. There's a bit of denial going on there too.

So it wasn't a bad Christmas. I made out quite well, present-wise. Being registered is a wonderful thing. I got two more place settings. I'm so in love with my china, but I am worried I'm not going to get all my pieces. So now, I have 4 place settings, which means I can have at least two guests come for a proper dinner.

I hope all of you had a good Christmas too.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Charlie Brown

"And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and goodwill toward men.' And that's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Time To Start Wrapping

With the exception of one minor thing, I have all my Christmas shopping done. I have no wrapping completed however, and I think that will be tonight's task.

Right underneath the hippy, dippy angel.

I'm not sure if I've told you about the hippy, dippy angel before. My parents always top their Christmas tree with an angel. Until about 4 years ago, it was topped with the same angel they've had since 1973. She had poofy blond hair, blue eyeshadow and her eyes were half-closed. She looked like she was high, not to mention from the '70s so we called her the hippy, dippy angel.

I got my angel several years ago. I didn't pay alot for her and as a result probably, her wings are now eskew and her hair is all mussed up. The tree-from-hell this year has a top branch that can't really support her weight so well, so she's leaning forward. She looks like she's ready to take off, Superman-style. This doesn't please me, but it's decidedly better than the whole tree leaning forward.

So now, it seems I have my own hippy, dippy angel.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


The Christmas spirit, which had alluded me so far this year, finally hit on Sunday. Despite the fact that my church still isn't performing any Christmas music (isn't there usually Christmas music during Advent?), I found myself humming "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" all day. I baked Christmas cookies all day, most of which I've already given away.

Today, I saw some people who work at My Institution, but who work outside my office and we exchanged Christmas hugs (Institution is a decidedly un-huggy place normally). I gave them cookies.

And I'm wearing socks with candy canes on them. At work. I really AM in the spirit now.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Five Christmas-Related Facts About Me

1. My favorite Christmas song is "O Holy Night." I get chills everytime it gets to the "fall on your knees" part. Sometimes I cry.

2. I go to my parents' house for a couple of days for Christmas every year. This will be the last time that happens. Next year I'll be married and will most likely alternate holidays will the in-laws. Even years I go to my parents' for Christmas won't be for more than one day in the future.

3. We have turkey for Christmas dinner. True to form, I cook the turkey. I call it "Thanksgiving, Part II".

4. "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" was/is one of my favorite Christmas movies.

5. On my way to Mass on Christmas Eve, I still search the sky for the star of Bethlehem.


I've realized that I really, really, really want to go back and work at a religiously affiliated school. I want the luxury of being able to say "Merry Christmas" without insulting anyone. I've gotten so wrapped up in the P.C. bullshit that I find myself wishing people who I know celebrate Christmas a "happy holiday" instead. I took for granted growing up and wishing everyone I knew a Merry Christmas because everyone I knew celebrated Christmas. Of course, I embrace diversity, and I would want any future children I may have to embrace other religions as well. But I also want to be able to say Merry freakin' Christmas every once in awhile too. My parents have this whole conspiracy theory about how the far left is trying to eliminate religion from the holidays. I used to laugh at that. Sometimes, now, I wonder. I'm mean, not seriously, but still. I'm finding that I'm starting to lose the religious connection to Christmas, and no, not because it's become a commercial holiday. Because you're almost not allowed to say 'Christmas'.

I usually buy three sets of Christmas cards: religious ones--which is my preference to send; Christmas-y cards--ones that refer Christmas but are not religious; and "happy holiday" cards that reference no particular holiday. Family and some close friends get the religious ones, friends that I think would be freaked out by a religious card get the Christmas-y one; and people I know are not Christian or people who I feel I have to be P.C. with get the holiday one. This year I just got the religious and holiday ones, foregoing the middle man: Christmas-y. This was a mistake. A lot more people got the happy holiday one than I would have liked because I ran out of religious ones.

Anyway, I know it's a week away, but I'd just like to say, Merry Christmas, everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tomorrow May Suck

First things first. Ron just made me watch "A Very Brady Christmas" which I had not seen before. That's an hour and a half of my life I'll never get back. I'm making him take me to dinner as retribution.

Anyway, over the last week, I've only been to the gym twice. Once for a half hour of cardio and once for a pilates class. Pathetic. But I was busy and also wasn't feeling that well. I went to my weekly stretching class this morning but didn't do any cardio. Tomorrow I'm jumping back on the wagon. And it's going to hurt. I find that once I get out of my routine, even for just a couple of days, going back at it is even harder. Everything hurts more, takes longer, seems less enjoyable. So I've been out of my routine really for a whole week, so my 6am visit to the gym tomorrow is going to suck in a big way.

Also, tomorrow I'll actually have to face the reality that my assistant gave her notice on Friday. I think I've been in denial. That's going to suck too.

Friday, December 16, 2005


I am completely fascinated by the idea of "Brokeback Mountain." I can't explain why, but I totally want to go see it. I have a feeling it's going to be an incredible love story.

Actually, it might be more appropriate for me to wait for it to come out on Comcast ONdemand.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Scariest Place on Earth

The tree is standing. The lights and decorations are on. It took 4 hours and visits to Target, Lowe's, Home Depot and Walmart in search of a new tree stand. But it's standing straight.....I think my tree has finally surrendered to its fate.

Can we talk about Walmart for a minute? The place scares the bejesus out of me. It's like a war zone. If you go to the one on Delaware Avenue, holy God, the thought of it makes me shudder. There's always mobs of people, approximately half of whom are beating the crap out of their kids. The other half are cursing their kids out. There appear to be women for hire outside (and possibly inside) the store. I'm convinced it's the worst place on earth. In fact, when I die, if I go to hell, I think it will be like that Walmart.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Leaning Tree of Christmas

Let me tell you about my freaking life right now. I did the laundry. I did the pilates class and I typed up the directions. I cooked dinner and I only made one type of cookie, but whatever. Everything was going great, and then we decided to decorate that God-forsaken Christmas tree.

I'm in a foul mood, people.

The tree, the dead tree, started to lean to one side right before we put lights on it. Ron and I spent the next HOUR AND A HALF trying to straighten it. Pine needles were everywhere--our hair, clothes, ears. Sap was all over my arms and I was starting to break out in hives. Ron was using using such a long string of vulgarities, that I was beginning to fear for his spiritual development. I was half tempted to put the tree out to the curb, but for Ron, this was a battle of wills. He was going to make the tree surrender to its fate.

Finally, we get it "straight enough" and string the lights. I throw some ornaments on, not even really caring about which ones. There are pine needles EVERYWHERE. While Ron vacuums, I take a shower. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get sap off your body? It's pretty freaking hard.

Finally, after midnight--which is late for me--I go to bed. When my alarm goes off this morning, I decide I'm not going to the gym and I sleep for another hour. When I finally do get up, I walk into the living to find the tree at a 45-degree angle.

Are you kidding me? I'm not exaggerating. A 45-degree angle.

Because I don't have time to wrestle with it again, I just start undecorating the tree. So that's how I spent my morning: undecorating a tree. Because, clearly, it's going to have crashed to the ground by the time I get home from work.

Back to square 1.

By the end of tonight, I have to:
bake more cookies
get invitations weighed and buy stamps
get calligraphy pens
finish Christmas cards
make dinner
finish direction cards
clean the apartment
buy a new tree stand

oh yeah, and re-decorate the FREAKIN Christmas tree!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Trim A Tree

Time to further kill the tree. We're going to attempt to put lights on tonight. Maybe even decorate it.

Actually, there's a lot to be done after 5p.m. tonight including:
pilates class
lights on the tree
baking two types of cookies
making direction cards for the wedding

Whew. I think I'm getting tired just thinking about it.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Is it just me or does Alanis Morissette look like a drag queen in her latest video? What the hell is up with that hair? Seriously.

The Dead Christmas Tree

I didn't have much luck with anything I tried this weekend. Yesterday was supposed to be a baking day. But I got a much later start than I wanted and was then distracted. I wound up with 4 dozen sugar cookies (that's after I burned two batches). There are at least 3 other kinds of cookies I want to make and Lord knows where I'm going to find the time.

Friday night, Ron and I went to pick out a Christmas tree. It was cold, and the snow from the morning was still on the ground. How romantic right? Picking out your tree with your sweetheart, with snow surrounding you. How Christmasy. We critiqued every single tree on the lot and of course, settled on the first one we had seen when we walked in. We tested it out, shook it around, played with the branches to make sure needles didn't fall off. After getting it home and in the stand, we left it to "settle". Once the branches started lowering a little, we could tell that it was the perfect-shaped tree. I must have told Ron 30 times that it was the perfect tree.

The next morning, I accidently brushed against it and about half the needles fell off. Our Christmas tree is dead. Not dead as in, it's been cut down and so technically is not living. Dead as in, cut down 42 weeks ago and dried out. The night before ice on the branches prevented the needles from falling off. When it defrosted....WOW. I have no idea how we're going to string lights on this thing. Or ornaments. Every time I touch the tree, more and more needles fall off in clumps.

So Merry freaking Christmas. Come on over and see my dead tree. I'll offer you some overdone sugar cookies too.

Friday, December 09, 2005

This Sucks

I would like to take this opportunity to say a big F. U. to the local meteorologists.

I woke up in the middle of the night because I heard the snow. It's not good when you hear snow. On my way to the gym this morning, I nearly killed myself. It was a layer of ice, covered by wet snow. Freaking hail balls were pelting me in my face. YOU DID NOT TELL US ABOUT THE POTENTIAL FOR HAIL, WEATHER PEOPLE!

By the time I left the gym, it was practically raining. By the time I walked to work there was slush everywhere. I hate slush. It's probably going to slush on my wedding day.

Anyway, the weather people lead us to believe that we would have a winter wonderland today. WRONG. All we have is filthy slush. I hate the weather people.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Snow Day?

I really, really do want it to snow tomorrow. I have to go to work, even if it's a snow day.

But I get to wear jeans if it snows.

Song of the Day

Because it's stuck in my head is "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt.

Bring On the Hate Mail

Dude, when the police tell you to stop, you're supposed to stop. Bad things happen when you don't listen to the police.

Of course they're going to find out that this guy is mentally ill. I mean, why the hell else would you announce that you have a bomb on a plane? Especially when you actually don't have a bomb on a plane. The guy was either mentally ill, suicidal or both. Unfortunately, law enforcement officials don't always have the luxury of psycho-analyzing people. I know it's a sad situation. But it's just an unfortunate side effect to law enforcement.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Birthday Princess

Happy Birthday to the Birthday Princess (you did notice the tiara, right?)! Michelle, welcome to the wonderful world of being 30. Happy, shiny new decade to you!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

You Know Not the Day or the Hour

I got a call early this morning from a woman I work with, telling me that she got home last night to find her husband dead. He had been home sick from work and had been vomiting since Sunday night. She thought he had the flu. He was in his 50s.

I cannot imagine that. I cannot imagine coming home to find that. I cannot imagine having to deal with such a sudden and devastating loss.

What are you to do? You can't stay home with your spouse every time he or she is sick. You can't always be with him or her. You can't second guess all your decisions to work late, or not worry.

I raced to work this morning make arrangments for her not to be called for work-related things as she normally would be. And I cried nearly all the way.

Monday, December 05, 2005


Okay, I confess: I bought a bra at Victoria's Secret this weekend. I broke down and went for the $45 IPEX demi. I think I've blogged before about my never-ending quest for a good bra. I feel like I've tried just about every bra available at most department stores and I've always wound up majorly disappointed. It struck me last week that I hadn't bought a new bra in awhile and that I really, really needed to.

The thought of buying one of the brands I currently owned didn't thrill me. So I decided to give Vicki's a run. I'd heard good things about IPEX, but always dismissed it as just an empty promise. Regardless, when I entered the store Friday I headed straight for the IPEX section.

So far, so good. Good support. Good lining, meaning there is lining but that it's not of the super-stiff, styrofoam variety.

It's too early to give it a thumb's up just yet. I've been optimistic about bras early in the game before, only to be disappointed that they start to disintergrate after a couple of washings. Yes, I know I could hand-wash them, but WHATEVER. Do you think that if men needed to wear some sort of support device for a part of their anatomy every single day that it would require hand washing? Or that it would cost $45? I think not.

I'll give you all an update in a couple of weeks. If you're still reading by then.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Charming Me

I run around in shorts a lot. Even though it's freezing out. My gym is only just around the corner and I can't workout in long pants. I hate the feeling of my legs sweating and being against fabric. And I'm too damn lazy to put on pants over my shorts for the walk to the gym. So I just wear shorts and depending on what the temperture is when I leave the front door, I run like hell.

I also do chores while going to the gym, namely laundry. The laundromat is on the way, so I'll throw a couple of loads in, go work out for awhile, put the clothes in the dryer and then go back to the gym. So I'm in the laundromat in my shorts too. Those people probably think I'm crazy.

So this little old lady approaches me in the laundromat and fully prepared to get a lecture on how I'm going to catch my death in those shorts, because that's what my grandmother would say. Know what the little old lady says to me?

"Do you know you have beautiful legs?"

I burst out laughing and thanked her. It was just so random. But kind of cute, too.

Thursday, December 01, 2005


I'm just not quite ready for the Christmas season.

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