Monday, December 31, 2012

Random Blurb

I've been talking so much about stuff that is all dramatic. "Oh my goodness, my mom's losing her house and has too much stuff". "Oh my goodness, I don't know how to take care of myself". "Oh my goodness, I'm losing my mind and everything else with it"

So today I would just like to say, that I am happy overall. I'm looking out the window and seeing the snow blanketing the Sierras. I go home every night and snuggle my dog and talk to the bird. I watch TV and exercise. I cook myself yummy dinners and I take hot showers. I'm building my business and setting my life in order. I have good friends and a fantastic family.

I'm enjoying myself thoroughly. I don't have more drama than I can handle, and while it would be great to have a guy I could share all my good fortune with, but I'm okay with not right now.

I just thought I would share that. Because so often I worry that it sounds like I am whining or that I'm not happy. I'm changing the things I need to change, like the size of my debt and my thighs, (all right. I'm working harder on the debt) and I am having fun doing it.

I'm blessed, and I know it. Life is fantastic.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hoarders Anonymous

I don't think it exists. Maybe it should. Except they would probably go to each other's garage sales and just pass all the stuff around.

Not the point.

I think I have mentioned on more than one occasion that my parents are collectors of stuff. All three of them. I think I have also mentioned that I am a collector of stuff, but that I am actively working on weeding the stuff out so that I am not storing a bunch of crap I don't need and won't use. If, for example, I were to get rid of some of the stuff in my studio, I could use it to create things instead of hauling my craftiness into the living room.

This collecting problem in my family has been highlighted of late in the fact that my mother will soon be moving.

I don't know if I have talked about how she left her job a couple of years ago and has not found another one. Or how when the market was high, she refinanced several times (against the advice of her children) and owes far more on her house than she would if she hadn't done that.

She realizes now that she made some mistakes and we are working through this madness. Thankfully, she has this really great fiancee who owns his house and she will be moving in with him. Her lifestyle will have to change drastically, and we aren't sure how all her children and his children will fit for Christmas next year, but we can cross that bridge when we come to it. I suggested bunk beds in the family room he plans to build.

We've known this was coming for awhile, although there is still hope that she will find a job in time to save her house. In real life though, the fiancee's house is smaller than hers. and already full of his stuff.

She said she has been getting rid of things, but having been at her house in the last week or so, I can't really tell the difference. At one point, while Seester and I were having some rare alone-time, she asked me if I had seen the bin of medicine bottles.

All those pill bottles you get at the pharmacy? Or the ones that hold vitamins? They're great little containers. She keeps them. All of them. Because they are great little containers.

I'm worried about her. I'm worried that she won't be able to part with all the things she's been saving over the years. She expressed that she felt bad about getting rid of the bed I usually sleep on when I am there. She said it's a good little bed. I reminded her that she could sell it for pretty cheap and have the money, and someone would have a great little bed. I told her that the bed doesn't care if she sells it. She agreed but I don't know if the lesson really went through.

She tends to attach emotions to things. And it's a good lesson for me, because I do too. Thankfully, I am evolving my thinking. I'm doing my best not to acquire new things while still getting rid of the old things. It's hard. Hard to overcome a lifetime of getting things because I want them. Of buying in bulk for later, then forgetting I have it. Of re purposing things into other things (I'll still do this, but no one actually wants old pill bottles! Recycle that shit!) Of holding onto something because I might want it later or because I've attached some sort of misplaced emotion on it.

Maybe if I can stop doing that misplaced emotion thing to things, I can stop doing it to people too...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Now that it's after Christmas...

I pulled a thrifty tip from The Little Big Blog for my nieces this year.

I managed to give the bulk of my family handmade gifts this year. This saved me in a big way because back in November I started stressing out about how I was going to pay for gifts for my family, and then I realized that I spent all summer happily making jelly out of fruit I was getting at the farmer's market. I don't think it occurred to me then that my jelly making fun would save me in a few months, but when I realized that my family would happily receive jelly, my shopping was suddenly almost done.

This didn't cover the nieces though. They would be getting jelly by default, but you can't really give a 4 year old a glass jar of jelly and expect that she will get all excited about it. Since time was short and my plate was full, making something wasn't likely to happen.

I found a couple of books, and stayed in my budget, but quickly discovered that the girls already had those. Back they went.

I knew that I wanted to give the girls books, but I discovered really fast that children's books are expensive. If I stayed in my budget, I would only be able to afford to buy one.

I was on my way back to Costco to see if they had anything new, (awesome place to get children's books, they tend to be about half retail!) when I remembered a gently used bookstore. I was able to get 4 books for considerably less than I would have paid for 1 book at the regular book store. That left room in my budget for a toy for them to share.

So, thank you, Carrie Anne for telling me that it's okay for me to be thrifty with my gift giving. For reminding me that used books are just as good, and for helping me to remember that it's better to stay in budget than to be extravagant.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Finding my shit

I still haven't found my purse.

However, in the process of getting myself organized, I did find a $25 gift card for Chilis that has been missing for the past year. I'll call that a "win". Maybe next I will find the $50 gift card to Victoria's Secret I lost last Christmas. On my list of things to change about myself? Stop putting gift cards "somewhere safe".

And purses too.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Losing track of my shit

Last December, I traded in my Southwest points for a free round trip ticket with the intention of using it for my holiday travel this year.

That meant that I would only have to pay for one ticket instead of two. When Thanksgiving rolled around and I was still overdrawing and my credit cards were still (thankfully) lost, I cancelled my trip South so I could get myself in order. I was thankful that I still had a round trip ticket to get me home for Christmas.

Until I tried to book the trip. And learned that the ticket was going to expire in 4 days.

Oh the things I could have done with that ticket. RollerCon. Brother in Law's 40th birthday bash. Thanksgiving.

And it's gone. Because I was too distracted to pay proper attention. I assumed that it expired on the 31st, not the 12th. Which means that I had to pay for my ticket South for Christmas. Since I didn't have the cash on hand, I put it on the credit card. I'll be paying that off over the next 8 months if I add an extra $50 per month to my MasterCard payment. (ouch!) That's almost time to get another ticket! If I had saved $50 per month over the last 8 months, I would have been able to pay cash.

Hm. What a concept!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Hello future me, it's nice to meet you.

The other day, I happened across a blog that talked about how a family of 6 can live on less than $28,000 per year.

If they can do it, so can I, right?

So I read the whole dang thing. And picked up as many suggestions as I could. A lot of them were very helpful and I will likely talk about them later.

One thing that really struck home was the introduction to my future self.

The thought behind this is, that by "meeting" your future self, you will be less likely to "steal" from him or her.

What do I mean by this? Well, every time you put something on credit, you are making your future self pay for you to have things now. Who is to say that your future self is going to WANT that random bauble? By the time you pay for that fancy dinner, it's long been digested. By the time you pay for that vacation, you've lost all the pictures.

I'm not saying that I'm giving up on vacations and dinners, I'm saying that it's better to save up and have them later for cash than to have them now and pay more for them due to using credit. Credit is expensive.

I learned that I am suffering now for the pleasures of me in the past. And I don't want this trend to continue to the suffering of my future self. I want her to have money in the bank. I want her to not have to sweat a trip to Costco to replenish the things I buy in bulk. Or heading over to JC Penny for some new work clothes because I've been exercising so that she can be skinnier.

So even though I have used my MasterCard in the last couple of weeks, its with the understanding that those purchases are going to cost me later. Of the four purchases I have made, 2 of them have already been repaid, one I am waiting for reimbursement from my insurance company, and the third, well, that one is going to be hanging out for awhile.

If a family of 6 can live on $28,000 per year (or less), I can live on that (or more) and still reach my financial goals. I'm glad I already started.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Those things I didn't learn in Kindergarden

After several months of being on the Flylady system, I fell off. Not because it isn't still a great system, but because it got hard to keep up, And my daily list of things to do kept getting longer and longer. They were no longer fitting on an index card.

So I stopped making them. Things stopped getting done. And I felt like a failure every time I looked at one of my little bullitin boards where my index cards go.

I remembered pretty quickly that as a list maker, I need my lists. BUT I realized that by expecting myself to accomplish an entire list every day, I was setting myself up for failure. I tried to hop back on the train but fell off again. I was overwhemed. I put too many things on my list and I shut down.

I happened across a website one day that talked about working with your inner child to learn how to get things done. We all know that I'm in pretty good touch with my inner child. I understand that she is the essence of who I am so when she throws a fit, I listen. mostly. (hence I didn't buy a car I know I would hate driving) BUT like any child I have to make her do her chores.

I recently started over at the beginning. Baby steps, you know? The crap we were all supposed to learn when we were 3 that for some reason never stuck with me. The stuff that should have me calling Nanny McPhee

"Clean up after yourself"

Easy peasy, right? But even that little bit of discipline is hard for me sometimes. It's weird for me to admit that I don't pick up after myself. That I tend not to put my toys away. I am not a dirty person. I like things neat and clean, and yet I let it pile up, finding excuses why it doesn't get done.

I'm proud to say that since I've been focusing on that simple thing, my kitchen has stayed clean. And the stuff that has piled up (ahem, laundry) I'm knocking out 5 items at a time. Whether it's putting away 5 pairs of socks from my laundry basket each time I walk into my room, or putting away 5 hair baubles I've left on the shelf in my bathroom. If it doesn't happen, I don't beat myself up.

The other stuff is still getting done. I've created a new and ongoing list that goes with me everywhere. When something pops into my head, I write it on my list and deal with it later. It seems to be working. For now. Thanks to my list, I have been forgetting less stuff and have been becoming more of the person that I want to be. I don't have to worry about the fact that the kitchen needs to be cleaned, so I am able to remember to grab my coat on a cold day.

The little things I (for some reason) never learned. I'm amazed at all the lessons I managed to miss.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Good bye to my little friend

It will come as no surprise to you that no matter how hard I try to simplify, I tend to fill my proverbial plate so full that soon I am stressed out and overwhelmed by the life I have created for myself. Then I announce that I am going to simplify and I start looking for ways to fix things.

I remove a few things from my plate but they sneak back on.

Of late, I have been working on the things that most people take for granted. First my house.  I started to declutter and learn to maintain a clean environment. Then my body. I gave myself three months at the local community center for my birthday since they have a pool and I wanted to use it.  Then, my finances. I still haven't found my purse and I did order a new MasterCard, but I am also working every day to keep my spending to a minimum. Sadly, the gym has been put on hold while I work harder on reining in my spending.

Things started coming together nicely. I no longer arrive home to a giant mess. The kitchen is clean, the floors vacuumed, and as of this morning, all of my laundry is put away. (well, everything but the linens in the dryer). I still have a long way to go, but I'm on the right track.

There was one thing bothering me though. Each day, I would come home to a stinky house. Stinky. House. Not okay. No matter how cluttered I get, I like to think that I'm not DIRTY, but stinky says dirty to me. I'd clean, revel in the scent of bleach or whatever I happened to clean with that day, and a short while later, the stink would come back. I added sceted thingies all over the house, but it just wasn't enough.

I was spending a couple of hours a week just maintaining the bunny area, only to have it filthy again a few days later. And Oliver, he was getting a couple of pets a day, but overall, was dirty (and smelly) and ignored. This is not the kind of pet parent I want to be, but it was hard to give myself the attention I need, I added park time almost every day for the dog, and maintain a clean house as well as groom and hold a rabbit every day.

Much as it pained me, it was time to let Oliver go. Not literally. I considered putting him outside, but rabbit hutches are expensive and I am trying to cut back on my expenses. Plus, I worried that with him out of sight, I would forget to feed and water him. I looked into rescues and asked my friend who belongs to the rabbit society if he knew anyone. I considered craigslist, but didn't want him to go to another home like mine. He needed a better home.

So I watched craigslist for someone specifically looking to adopt an Angora. I found someone pretty quickly, and last Friday, I said goodbye. The family he went to did their research on the breed. I gave them full disclosure on Oliver's litter box issues and the various grooming he would need to bring him up to par. I gave them all his food, pen, everything I had that they might need to give him a better home. I have faith that they will. I gave him up for him, and also for me.

I no longer come home to a stinky house. I think Baby and Chango are enough pets for me to handle. Sure, I'll be tempted here and there to get something new, but right now, I think I'm done having too many critters. Because it's better to be a good keeper of one or two than a terrible keeper of 3.

One less thing on my plate. One more step to being "normal".

Thursday, December 13, 2012

My mom, the Flylady, and the number 5

My mom mentioned to me awhile ago, how hurt she was that Seester and I didn't seem to learn how to keep house from her. Somehow, we needed more than her instruction on keeping a home and we had to look to The Flylady.

She didn't understand where she went wrong.

She didn't raise us wrong, but nothing I was going to say that day is going to change her mind about that.

Here's the thing. No matter how you were raised, you have to find a way to maintain your life your way. For Seester and I, The Flylady got us restarted.

Seester learned that she doesn't have to be a perfect housekeeper, which was tough considering the fact that we grew up in a house that said that if you weren't going to do something right, you shouldn't do it at all. Ever day the house was vacuumed, bathrooms cleaned, kitchen cleaned, top to bottom throughly. No such thing as a quick wipe down. (really crusty dishes could be left to soak overnight, but if any dish went back in the cabinet with a bit of food still on it. we washed every dish in the house)

With a crew of 3 children, this is a little easier to achieve. (Pie and Brother were too young to help when Cousin, Sister, and I were doing chores) We took care of most of the cleaning freeing my parents up to change diapers and work on freelance jobs. (Seester changed a lot of diapers too)

Please note that my mom remembers the household chores differently than we do. She remembers keeping up on the whole house while working full time and raising babies. We remember that we had a list of daily chores that had to be done before she got home. And that after dinner was cooked, we did the dishes and mopped the floor.

So, Flylady told Seester that as long as her sink was shiney, it's okay to have a dish on the counter or sweep and not mop. To take little nibbles of the housework instead of trying to "eat" it all at once. With two toddlers, I think this has brought Seester a lot of peace.

She taught me that I'm smart to make lists to keep track of myself, and that I can do anything in 15 minutes. Well, for me it's 5. I get distracted in 15. I would like to work up to 15. In the mean time, I will work in multiples of 5. I set the timer, I go. 5 minutes. If I get distracted, I refocus. 5 minutes. I am amazed at the things I can get done in 5 minutes.

I don't really discuss my cleaning habits with my mom anymore. I learned that it is a sore spot and makes her feel like a failure when I share my success in this matter. I support Seester when she talks about the system, and I continue to adapt it for my uses. I too have learned to take my housecleaning in little nibbles. Imight only be one person, but I sure do make a lot of mess!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Still working through it

So, I reached my goal of spending less on incidentals in November by $100, which is just slightly more than I spent at Ikea so I'm not sure it really counts. My wants went down, but my needs went up and somewhere in there, I spent my cushion. I don't really know how I managed that except that perhaps I still had leftover madness from October.

Since we last discussed it, I've changed a few things so I will appear to have more money to work with each month.

I've also been working on my attitude.

You see, I tend to spend it if I have it instead of budgeting for actual expenses. I may have mapped out my spending and bills, but I don't really control things beyond that. This is my next step. To set a budget for things like food, pet food, and entertainment and to stop using my debit card. I learned that I over spend when I use it. Case in point:

I told myself a couple of weeks ago that I could have a Costco hot dog for lunch since I would be at the store and I had $2 cash. While in line, I remembered that the total would come out to more than $2 after tax, I would have to use my debit card because I didn't have any change. Well, in that case, I thought, I can also have a frozen yogurt! Suddenly, my $2 lunch was $5. That doesn't seem like much, but those little expenditures add up fast.

Thankfully, I was quickly reminded that the taxes in Nevada are lower than the ones in California and I would have the cash to cover my lunch.

But it opened my eyes to my tendency to overspend because the money is in my account.

Friday, I am going to try to switch to the envelope system of cash management.

Friday, November 30, 2012

This hurts my spending bone

Despite the fact that I have cut down my spending exponentially over the last month, I am still hurting. I need to update my spreadsheet, but what I am noticing most of all is that having friends and family is expensive. Granted, I tend to over do it, but right now, this minute, I'm wondering how I'm going to cover the white elephant gifts and kennel costs for my company kick off meeting next week. I learned last year that my company doesn't reimburse for pet care on company travel.

I'm in an uncomfortable spot, but I know I will get out of it. I've been worried so much about all the stuff I have going on that I have forgotten to be greatful for all the things that I do have. A warm home (well, warm is relative. Apparently, most people don't think that 60 deg is not warm enough to keep my house. But when it's 38 outside, 60 sure is warm!) and a soft bed. I typically have a full belly. I have plenty of clothes and entertainment. My friends are pretty awesome.

And somehow, just when things look the worst, I see a little ray of sunshine and I pull through, and I remember that everything is going to be okay and off I go to the next adventure.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What do you mean, Declined?

Last Friday I popped my happy ass into the gas station for a good old fashioned fillerup. I had waited until payday so that I wouldn't dip into my cushion. I am very protective of my cushion. It's my financial hope right now.

My card didn't work. Since I knew I got paid that day, I headed into the 7-11 and tried again. Nope. as credit? Denied. What the heck??

Thankfully, I recently opened a Bubbly Creations business account and was able to get some gasonline because I wasn't sure if I was going to make it to work.

Once I arrived at my place of employment, I looked at my bank account and lo and behold, I was in the negative. My mortgage had come out as planned, but my paycheck hadn't gone in.

After checking with a coworker and HR, I was reminded that I made changes to the electronic system. My bank had changed thier routing numbers and if I hadn't fixed it, my checks would soon be going into whoknowswhereland. It takes 1 to 2 pay periods for the changes to go through. My check, the HR lady assurred me, would be in my mailbox that day.

It wasn't. Nor was it there on Saturday. I had forgotten the awful feeling of wondering when your paycheck would arriveand NEEDING it.

It arrived on Monday, was deposited on Tuesday, and I am scooped way too far into my cushion for my comfort. But thank goodness it's there. And that I get paid again next week.

My cushion goal is to have the original amount put back into may savings account before the end of this year and to still have a good cushion in there. I think I can do it. but I have to remember not to overspend. Deep breath, and I'm moving forward.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

On Budgets and Credit Cards

Several months ago, I suddenly noticed that I don't have any money. That I live paycheck to paycheck, squeeze by, and tend to wonder if I am going to be able to pay for the things I need, like food, during any given week. I think part of the reason I was suddenly suffering is that I had been putting things on my credit cards instead of managing my cash flow. When I told myself I couldn't use them anymore, I suddenly didn't have any money. (when I say suddenly, it's a little sarcastic. Obviously, I had pretend money)

So I sat down, and mapped out my expenses for the rest of this year and all of next. I love excel. Soon after, I lost my purse. Lost. As in, I can't find it. I know it's in my house somewhere because it disappeared while I was home, I vaguely remember putting it somewhere clever, and if it had been stolen, someone would have used my cards, checkbooks, and the Starbucks preloaded gold card of which I am stupidly proud. Don't judge. I only have to buy like, 24 drinks in a year to keep it. Most people do that in a month.

Since I lost my credit cards with my purse, I have been unable to use them for "emergencies". You know, like the kind where I'm going over to the Wife's house and need to bring chips but my bank account is empty. THOSE kind of emergencies. People ask if I am going to replace the cards and I tell them NO because as long as they are lost, I can't use them and ideally, my balances will go down instead of up. Yes, I am worried about true emergencies.

When I mapped out my expenses, I didn't add in things like food and gas and funtimes because in my head, I don't really spend all that much on those things.

Apparently, I DO spend a lot on those things.

Last month, I added all expenditures into my budget. $1.07 for Taco Bell? it's in there. And it's highlighted pink so I can see that although it was a food expense, it wasn't a needed expense. Groceries are needed. Taco Bell is not. While I know that I will have some "fun" expenses, I now know that I have been going overboard. So much that I will not be able to go see my family for Thanksgiving (lucky for me, my mom is coming up here. So if Tahoe isn't snowed in, I'll be going up there. If it is, I will go to the Wife's). Last month, I spent over $300 on things that I could have lived without. I spent less than $200 on Gas, Groceries, and Pet Food.

Wow. Talk about an eye opener!

My goal for November is to cut that number considerably. It's going to be difficult because it's Thanksgiving and this week alone I will be buying a turkey, brining supplies, and the stuff to make broccoli cheese casserole for Spanksgiving on Sunday. And then in a week or so, I need to buy apple pie makings. I'll either be at the Wife's, or at my future step sister's house so either way, we need a pie. And maybe some more broccoli casserole.

More later...

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sometimes, Loss is a good thing

Losing my purse, (and no, I haven't found it) is quickly becoming the best thing that could have happened to me.

Aside from the fact that my video camera was in there, and some gift cards, and my IPOD DAMNIT! losing my purse may be the best thing that could happen to me right now. I got a phone call today that underlined this.

Here's the thing. I haven't been very good with my credit cards lately. If I want something, I get it, telling myself that I can pay it off quickly. This is good in theory until you realize that TOO many things handled that way add up quickly. And interest compounds. (I'm waiting for my next AMEX statement so I can look into personal consolidation loans. Better to pay one bill than 2 and at a lower interest rate)

Since I lost my credit cards with my purse, I can't use them. I have not called for replacements because NOT having them, forces me to live within my means. It sucks a little, but I'm surviving just fine. It's amazing all the things I would have bought if I could. I don't need them. In fact, I had a guest over a few nights ago who said that my house was more organized than he'd ever seen it before (except that odd pile of file cabinet and such in the dining room? Never mind). I've been purging and not adding. It's awesome. (It helps that I've been exercising constantly so I don't really have time to shop)

So, a little while ago I received a call from a company that sounded like my credit card company offering to lower my interest rate. Heck yeah I want to lower my interest rate! When I started talking to a live person, things started getting a little sketchy. It turns out, he wasn't calling from MY credit card company, he was calling from a company that would contact my credit card company and have them lower my rate. Well, that doesn't make very much sense since I could call them myself and ask for a lower rate. Sometimes they do that, sometimes they won't. The company he named was pretty generic sounding. He said they were in Orlando, FL but that he was calling from a call center. The number that dialed me was in San Marcos, CA. Whatever, I look up some pretty interesting businesses every day (Tiny's Wiener Emporium!!), but the bulk of them sound pretty normal.  He started getting a little pissed when he asked for my credit card number and I couldn't give it to him. I don't have it. I can't find it, and I don't think it is on my statement, despite what he said. Which is GOOD. I don't want that information floating around for anyone to see. I'm at work. No access to the things he is looking for. He offered to give me his name, his ID number, all sorts of things to get my credit card number. I explained that he couldn't help me right now and finally said goodbye.

I looked up the business on Dunn and Bradstreet, it doesn't exist in Orlando. A search for the number on D&B pulls up a daycare. Maybe they exist but aren't listed, but I don't think so. I googled the number and discovered that I'm not the only one getting these calls. It reeked of SCAM, especially when he started getting pissed off at me for not giving him my numbers;  if it smells that bad, it likely is.

Thank goodness I lost my purse somewhere in my house. I'm not saying that I would have given him the numbers, I would like to think I am smarter than that, but I would be willing to bet that there are plenty of people who do. Especially when he started getting angry that I wasn't giving up the info.

For those who might be google searching that number like I did, it's, (760) 204-4226 . The fellow I spoke to had an accent that sounded Indian or Pakistani to my untrained ear, which made him sound a bit more legit considering how many American call centers are located in Asia. The business name he gave me was Financial Advising Center in Orlando Florida

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

I am so very lucky

We listen to a lot of Rob, Arnie, and Dawn, a radio show in Sacramento here in the cube. Not only do they have a morning show, but you can go to their website and listen to reruns all day long. We listen to Reruns all day long. Sometimes, I'll catch a story, but for the most part, because it isn't loud enough for me to hear, I don't even notice its on until it isn't, when the sudden silence causes me to pull my head out of computerland and remark on the silence.

Every so often though, I tune in and listen to whatever is going on over on Bratty's side of the world. Today (on rerun) I overheard a story about a woman who's in laws treat her son from a previous marriage (and her) pretty badly while being kind to the children from her current marriage.

And I remembered, again, how lucky I am that my mom married into the family she did.

I am quite blessed with grandparents.

I talk a lot about my father's mom, Ma, but not as much about my mom's parents. And I don't think I have ever mentioned Nana and Grandpa. It's not for lack of love for them.

This post though, this one is for Nanathana and Garypa. (which mixed their given names with grandparent titles and was a perfect solution for two little girls who suddenly found themselves with another set of grandparents and without a clue what to call them)

When my mom married their son, I was 5 and Seester was 9. Pie and Brother weren't even possible yet. We were the first grandchildren. A ready made pair with countless barbies and a distant relationship with our father's family. We, along with sister-cousin Lisa would take over the house, playing with anything that got in our way. We were mermaids in the jacuzzi. We rode skateboards in the alley, and we took over the family room with our Barbies. We went to Buford's candy store and ate Phony Baloney. Soon, another set of cousins came along and when they learned to talk, names had to be shortened to accommodate young child speaking patterns. Suddenly, we had a Nana and a Grandpa.

More children joined the family over the years. Some, the kind of grandchildren (and now great grandchildren!) that are related, some joined the family through marriage.

One of the wonderful things about Nana and Grandpa is that we all got treated the same. They are proud grandparents of ALL of us and no one was treated better for having shared the same genes. At least, not that I have ever noticed.

My parents are now divorced and have been for far longer then they were married.  Dadi remarried and now there's two more grandchildren in Nana and Grandpa's brood. They are my brother and sister. My mom is invited to the annual Christmas party.

My family taught me a very important lesson. That blood relation doesn't matter when you love each other and that you don't divorce children. I was blessed to be embraced by a family who feels this way. I'm glad I learned this lesson from them instead of the other kind of people, who don't understand that you can love a child, even if they are not descended from you.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Goodbye boy

I'm not sure if I ever told you about Booch.

Booch was a giant, clumsy, overzealous, lovable lunkhead of a dog. When I say giant, I mean that he was the most beautiful Doberman - Black Lab mix that you ever did see and he was so big, that he could rear up on his hind legs and lick my face without stretching out completely. It took two leashes to walk him, and those I had to wear like a harness.

Booch was approximately 1 month older than Chango so when I met his owner, he suggested that we start taking them both to the dog park. I insisted on waiting until my boy was just a little bit older than the 9 weeks he was when I got him, which is probably a good thing because it turns out, that Booch was at least twice his size. As they got older, they would vie for my attention.
Over the last 4 years, there was a lot of back and forth dog sitting and visits to the dog park. Despite his need for a whole lot of training, I loved that dog. He was bigger than me. His head, spanned my lap, where he would lay it during the times that he would stay with me. Chango treated him like an annoying big brother and Baby thought he was the bestest thing next to her own dog. He was a part of my little family.

Booch's owner has an apple tree. Since he was a giant horse of a dog, he ate the apples. A lot of them. All the time.  Which didn't really appear to be a problem until Booches was out for a run and the cyanide from the seeds finally hit his system.

That was three weeks ago. I found out about it last night. I'm heart broken. I'll never get to pull his long velvet ears again or complain when he steals a kiss.

This post has two parts. One to honor the memory of a critter occasionally referred to as Chango's "brother". And the other to beg you to watch what your pets eat. I know I'm incredibly lucky that aside from grass, Chango doesn't really eat anything that I don't tell him to eat. (except that one time when he ate my steak, but I can't really blame him for that since I left it on the coffee table) But I know dogs who eat anything they can get their paws on. I've heard stories of blockages and perforations, and now an accidental poisoning. Shit happens, unfortunately. And we can't control everything. And apples, we eat them all the time, right? but we take the seeds out. I knew you couldn't feed apple seeds to turtles or parrots, but I never thought about dogs.

I sure did go home and give extra snuggles to Chango last night.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Almost too much of a good thing

My plans to work out all the time are going swimmingly... pun intended. I'm not in the pool every day, but most days, and I am (almost) satisfied with that. I have gone from only doing 5 laps on my very first day out to 10 laps as of this week. That's halfway to my goal of 20 per day. I'm pretty proud of my progress since I've only actually been back in the pool for a couple of weeks.

I'm still in the exercise room every day after work (except Friday because they aren't open) and am feeling great about it.

I feel energetic and excited and I am starting to see positive changes in my physique.

This morning I woke up bright and early and ready to jump into my suit and do some laps. Then I started counting. Not sheep but hours and I realized that in 3 days I had put in about 8 hours of heavy activity. (I skated last night too. So, I swam in the morning, spent an hour or so in the fitness center, and then skated for 2 hours...) Holy crap. I can see how this can become addicting.

Add that to the fact that I have been trying to eat less, and you can see where I was suddenly concerned about burnout.

Fitness is good, but too much can be, well, too much for a body to handle. So I took the morning off. I'll be back in the fitness center this evening. That will have to be enough for today. I don't want to deplete my resources completely!

So the update is, that as of today, I have been at it for 1 month and I'm still at it and proud of myself.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Conversations in Cubeville

The following conversation happend so recently that my heater hasn't warmed up yet...

Me (as I finished my sammich) : BRRRRR!!!

Bratty: I know, it's freezing in here all of the sudden.

Me: My fingers are like...

Bratty: Icicles

Me: Frozen tubes of ice! (pause) Which is kind of the definition of icicles...

Bratty: Dork.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Color me... Colorful

Today, I run. Maybe. I've been spending enough time at the gym that I think I might run some of it. Color Me Rad. I've been looking forward to it for months. It's going to be awesome.

At this time last year, I was taking a deep breath before I did Tough Mudder. If you're nice, I'll show you my headband.

There is no comparing the two. I expected tough Mudder to be a little bit more difficult than the Pendleton Mud Run which is the race that got me into obsacle races. I did it twice.

They can't be compared. Mudder was ALL TERRAIN and the PMR NEVER made me dive into a construction dumpster full of ice. And Mudder was about 11(+) miles (it would have been more but we got truncated for time) with the PMR at 6.2.

Color Me Rad will be WAY easier!

My cousin is going. Dana never did the PMR because she's been living in Nor Cal for a really long time. But she joined Team Fluffy Ninja Monkey for the Mudder and for someone who was not feeling well, was a trooper. We lost two members of TFNM during the Mudder - One was not at all prepared and was puking by the time we reached the top of Squaw Peak, and the other broke his foot as we started the trek down. Sgt. Sinister tried to keep going but his foot went numb and he couldn't walk on it anymore. Dana and I crossed the finish line together. Which was good because her husband was nearby to take video of me on the second to last obstacle.

Because I was being an idiot, I did not register us under TFNM, but I'm going to make us Tee Shirts anyway. In preparation for her arrival, I asked her if there was anything she wanted to eat while she is here. She replied that she will eat what I eat. The following... well, followed:

"You don’t want to eat what I eat… Except the zucchini bread. It’s delicious. And homemade. Not by me, by my ex's mom who still loves me and Wifey so much that she makes sure we get plenty of zucchini bread. Which makes the ex stabby. Not because he dislikes me, but because the bread is so good, he doesn’t like to share. But I might make cookies tonight. We’ll NEED those for fuel tomorrow. I’ll put them in my fanny pack*. I suspect we will be the envy of all the other run walkers.
I’ll pick up some basics tonight so that we don’t starve. My refrigerator currently consists of fruit (which needs canning) and soy sauce. And beer.

Consequently, Wifey IS doing the Tough Mudder (again) tomorrow. I would do it again, but I injured my shoulder last year and I still have trouble with it. Maybe next year I will think about trying again.

*I don't actually have a fanny pack, I have one of those cash belts you are supposed to carry when you travel to other countries. I tend to stuff it so full that it may as well BE a fanny pack, but I just can't bring myself to use a real one. The shot blocks in my little belt of wonders sustained our entire team during Mudder because I brought WAY more than I would have needed. It has been agreed that after 7+ hours of running and obstacles, we might have passed out without them.

Friday, September 21, 2012


One year ago today, I lost a friend.

I don't mean that she's out there in the woods somewhere, I mean that she is now departed. I posted about it here, but now, a year later, it still hurts. I think about her a lot. I pamper the hell out of the Peace Lily she gave me. It hasn't bloomed in a very long time.

We weren't close. Not really. I feel like I don't have the right to still hurt knowing that she is gone. Maybe it's because I never took a minute to tell her she was special to me.

I don't tend to be good at that.

In honor of her, We should all call that person we've been thinking of. And tell them they mean something. That you love them  if that is the case.

You never know how telling someone that they made a difference in your life might change theirs. And at the very least, you won't wish you had.

Do it. Do it now.

Gina Baby

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seeing myself.

I talk a lot about different situations in my life. My childhood, which while it could have been better, it could have been worse. A whole lot worse. I talk about the adults who influenced me, how I was raised. I talk (a very little bit) about the men that I date or have dated and how that made me feel.

Sometimes, I know, my stories can come across as a bit negative. I have a lot of ugly stories. Some of them I don't share. With anyone. There are some skeletons that should remain buried in the closet behind my tiaras and evening gowns because while they helped shape who I am, they don't define me.

One of those came climbing out one night recently for reasons I don't understand and well, I'm still embarrassed about it and although I wish I could take it back, I can't. Sharing that story only made me want to bury it deeper so it never comes up again. Especially considering I am no longer dating the man I over shared with. I feel venerable and exposed knowing that he knows things about me that are not public knowledge.

That is not the point of this diatribe.

I share the stories because they helped shape who I am. Sometimes something in my world reminds me of a time, and I need to write it down. While I know that I shouldn't worry about what anyone thinks of me, I also don't want to paint a false picture of myself.

I know I have said that I don't blame my parents for the mistakes that they made. Mistakes get made. We are humans and I get to see the people that they have become and I get to be proud of how they have grown. I hope that when I am in my 50's I can look at myself and be proud of how I have grown from my 20's and 30's as well.

The point is, that despite some pretty ugly situations, I don't see myself as a victim. I am not all "oh woe is me, my childhood wasn't pretty", I don't allow the bad stuff in my past to be an excuse for misbehaving in my present. I know (now) that my parents loved me and really did the best that they could. I don't think I was an easy child to raise, and there's no handbook.

That's all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Just call me Spiderman. Only I'ma girl.

"To say that the Buffalo truly survived would be only partly accurate"

I was, as a child, a terrible student. Like Peter Parker, I was brilliant, but lazy. Unlike Peter Parker, I was not moonlighting as a superhero, rather, I was, like most children. Lazy. There was playing or reading to be done so IF I did my homework, I took shortcuts. My parents (as you know) were kind of the opposite of helicopter parents. Once I hit a certain age, I was expected to handle my shit so they only really seemed to know what I was up to if someone complained.

They were on a first name basis with my teachers from probably 2nd grade. There were nights when I dreaded the phone ringing and I always knew when it was a teacher. Sometimes I knew it was coming, sometimes I didn't.

It wasn't just homework, schoolwork was BORING and TEDIOUS (that was totally a spelling word when I was a 4th grader.) and I would have rather been reading. The only time I could really get into my classwork (other than reading time) was when we did science experiments. Those didn't feel like work, they felt like playing. Some things never change. While nothing can really excuse the laziness factor, I also know now that I didn't learn well in a traditional school environment. Even though I was in the smart kids classes, it rarely felt like a challenge so much as it felt like more work. With 36 kids in a class, I also didn't get the one on one attention that I needed to fully understand things like long division. Presented differently, I might have gotten it. If I had memorized my multiplication tables (why did I miss this? I was rarely sick), it likely would have been easier. But you sit a child down with 3 mimeographed pages of long division problems, and they don't actually get it and they are too embarrassed to ask questions, well, it's a recipe for incomplete assignments and a close relationship between my parents and teachers.

The first sentence of this rambling post is actually important.

I didn't really like doing news reports. Each week we had to get up in front of our class and give a current event or report on something. This sounds like an easy assignment, but my family didn't get the newspaper, which meant I had to get creative. We WERE allowed to do some sort of science-y demonstration, but another girl in my class had the same "Science Experiments for Kids" book I had so she tended to have that covered. Plus, a lot of the projects were not easily demonstrated. How do you show 35 other kids how to make their own kaleidoscope?

And so you got, the infamous dribble glass report.

I had a book that really sounded legit. I mean, how is a kid supposed to know the difference between nonfiction and creative nonfiction? So one day, I'm looking through the book trying to find something to do for my news report and I came across a chapter in the book on dribble glasses. I was ten, it sounded cool, so I wrote up my report and carefully "drilled" a hole in the bottom of a glass for demonstrative purposes.

I got as far as dribbling water all over the reading rug and the opening announcement of "This is a Dribble Glass" before my teacher pulled me from the front of the room. What I thought was an appropriate and interesting article was apparently NOT okay. I was hurt that I had actually completed an assignment and was excited to share, but that I didn't even get into the meat of the report before I was yanked. The phone rang that evening, loud and clear.

My teacher set me up with a classmate who's reports were always amazing. She was a good friend of mine so I was excited to have a reason to hang out with her. We went to the library and did a research report on American Bison. It had charts and pictures and I had one line I had to memorize. Katie did most of the work, but I was part of it and I think that was the only time I did well in anything other than PE. (I excelled at running back then)

Katie showed me the value of going above and beyond. I don't think I did another current event (at least not that in depth and certainly nothing that stuck with me) and I certainly didn't stop being lazy or getting into trouble at school, but that report will remind me always as an example of how things should be done. My parents always told us that it was not okay to do anything half way, and made sure that our chores were completed correctly, but didn't really show us how that translated out of the home.

I will always be grateful to Katie for helping me out. I've been lucky that way, to have the kind of friends that step up and help. I can only hope that I do the same.

By the way, my teacher made fun of me for months about that dribble glass, never giving me the opportunity to explain that there was more to it (she assumed that holding up the dripping glass was all I had to present). Since she brought it up, my classmates teased me about it too. I haven't forgotten what it feels like to be treated like a fuck up all the time. At the end of my 5th grade year, I was happy to move along to another class and the opportunity to do better. That teacher offered me the opportunity to stay behind a year. She said she felt like I was too immature to continue on to middle school. I chose to move forward. I hope I always do.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Please call Nancy Drew. Or Niecy Nash, whichever you can get

I was an avid reader of Nancy Drew Mysteries when I was a child. Okay, I was an avid reader of anything I could get my hands on. In fact, my mother would take away my books when I was naughty. There was always a pile of them on top of the refrigerator. Unfortunately for her, I'd just get another one. Eventually, when I would get one back, I'd start right in where I left off. It's a terrible thing for a parent to go through. "I can't get my kid to stop reading..."

I would borrow the Nancy Drew books from a friend of our family, Lisa. It was always a treat to go to the home of her and her partner because they were like big kids. Lisa would tell me stories from her childhood and let me borrow books from her childhood library (it breaks my heart to know that all those books likely burned when she lost her house in the 2003 San Diego fires, which means she wasn't able to share them with her daughter). It was always Nancy Drew. I think she had them all.

During the continued search for my missing purse, I have thought about Nancy Drew, and where she would begin. I have looked high and low. I have retraced my steps. I have brought in friends to look while I wasn't home. None of us can fathom what I was thinking in the moments after I picked up my purse on that Sunday morning two weeks ago. I still cannot fathom.

I will keep looking. It's GOT to be somewhere!

Monday, September 17, 2012

I fought the tree. It was a valiant fight

The part in quotes is in quotes because it was actually written quite awhile ago. I didn't want to post it until I had pictures, but I kept forgetting to upload them. Then my internet went wonky (it works but is no longer wifi and I keep forgetting to call the company back) and then I lost my purse. Still. More on that later.

"Yesterday I was feeling ready. Ready to go after the dead tree in my yard. In hindsight I think I was hoping to get the help once offered on it, but  my parents taught me not to expect anyone to do anything for me. To always be able to provide for myself. This attitude has been both a blessing and a curse. I have trouble accepting help, but at the same time, I am not helpless when someone doesn't come through.

So, I waited for the bees to go to bed, and I grabbed my trusty axe and swung.

That tree was hard. The axe bounced right off. A couple of branches fell on my head.

I don't know how long it took me, but I chopped that tree down. (now I don't know what to do with it.)"

Update on the tree:

It's still dead and still in my side yard. I might put on my waffle stompers and stomp it into trash can size pieces. Or just try and stomp the branches off so I can use the chop saw on it. In the meantime, I haven't touched my yard. Today I picked up a certified letter from the post office. Did you know it's illegal in Sparks to have thigh high weeds in your front yard? It is. APPARENTLY, I'm bringing down the local property values. I wonder if my neighbor also got a notice about the couch in her front yard? I have 10 days to fix it, but I'll mow it tonight after the gym. I'd skip the gym but I figure that I may as well go since I'd have to wait for the bees to go to bed anyway. Plus, I consumed a Venti Frappuchino on account of I could. (even though I shouldn't) Don't you buy the most expensive and fattening thing on the menu when you get your free birthday drink from Starbucks? So I need to work that off.

Speaking of the gym, I'm still going. I missed Saturday but between the garage sale-ing and Lazer Tag, I got my 10,000 steps in AND got my heart rate up for 15 minutes. At the rate I'm going, I'm going to have to up my daily goal to 15,000. My swimming is improving, I think, I got 10 laps in today. That's twice as many as I did my first day in the pool a week ago Saturday. I'll be up to 20 in no time at this rate!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Where I'm at

In two days, it will be the first day of my 35th year on this earth. Sometimes I think it's strange to consider that I have made it this far when I almost didn't make it out of the hospital the first time. Heck, I almost didn't bake at all. Those are stories for another day.

Despite a few physical hiccups in the beginning and many, many emotional hiccups in the middle (the end, thankfully, is on a slider.) I'd say that I'm doing pretty damn good. I'm coming out of my most recent rough patch with a few scabs (sometimes they still get picked off) and a couple of scars, but I'm working hard on letting the sores heal and the scars fade. I have no doubt that they will and will focus my attention on finding myself in a less "injury prone" relationship next time. Whenever that may be.

If you are wondering if I ever heard back, I did. I don't know when we will be able to meet up as both our schedules look a little full right now (no details from either party) but at least contact was made and I can have Indiana Jones Marathons again soon.  I think it is likely that the book will close on that chapter of my life (even though it hurts to admit it. I'm not really very good at ends) even if the voice in my head whispers that maybe it won't.

While he gave no inkling of what he has been thinking over the last few months, he says he is well, and I am happy for him. As for me, I admitted to being well, but busy. And to missing him and his entourage. Because it is true. I placed the disclaimer on the comment that I have no agenda, because I don't. I didn't say it because I was hoping to hear that he missed me too, or that he doesn't want to be without me, or any of that other nonsense I read about in books, I said it because I needed to. I felt better for it and I left it at that. Indeed, I felt just a little more whole.

I tend to see my birthday as a time of renewal and beginnings. I think I am in a good phase mentally for that. Open to new possibilities and horizons. Physically, I am at the gym twice a day most days, working on getting my body back in the shape I want to be in. I'm not sure when I started letting it go, but I am reversing that by swimming in the morning and hitting the weight room in the evening after work. Fitness was my birthday present to myself this year and I am hoping that I stick with it. It's been three weeks since I paid for the community center pass, and I started swimming last Saturday. I'm already seeing an improvement in how many laps I can do and I practically have to pry myself off the elliptical each day. The combination of that and my Striiv presents all sorts of record breaking possibility! 10,000 steps is no longer a struggle!!

I'm looking into year 35 with hope and anticipation of good things to come. It's a good feeling.

And now you know.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Bigger Than Expected Bliss List

Last night, I thought I was going to have to skip this. I really did. And I said to myself, "really? there's nothing that made you happy this week? REALLY?"

I knew that couldn't be right, but I was in a bit of a funk last night and so I know it was the funk talking, NOT a lack of good things happening.

So, this morning, I got up a bit earlier than usual. and...

  • Made it to my friends' NEW COFFEE SHOP. Grand opening is soon, but they're open.
  • Got to see all the balloons up for the  Great Reno Balloon Races. I love seeing all the hot air balloons  floating in the early morning light. I can never decide which one is my favorite. The colorful classic balloons or the fun shapes. There's something about seeing Darth Vader's head floating over the Sierras that makes me giggle.
  • Made it to work earlier than usual
  • Giggled with the girls
  • Met with a new Derby Girl and sold her a T Shirt. 
  • I'm feeling happy and energetic. I just know it's going to be a good day!

That's a lot for a Friday morning. But I think I just needed to open my eyes and SEE all the good things. I'm so glad I did.

Thank you Liv Lane for reminding me to watch out for fun things in my world!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

You called it, government

So, I'm filling out this census thing that asks all sorts of questions that I don't feel like looking up the answers to and a few that I think are a little personal and I come across one that says,

Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition, does this person have serious difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions?

And I had to laugh.

Meanwhile, I did something scary today. I sent a text to the last boy to see if I could retrieve a couple of things from his place. Because today was the first day that the idea of cleaning up that last bit of things seemed bearable. I haven't heard back. I'm trying not to dwell on the why. Trying not to make up reasons because I don't now, nor have I ever really known what was going on in his head. I'm really really trying to put all these bits of me together again and accept that a man who gave me up so easily wasn't as into me as I was into him.

And the voice in my head says, "What if that isn't true?"

So I retreat again and try not to keep being the girl who waits for a man who is never going to call.

This was supposed to be a funny post.

It's a Monty Python Day

There are some days when all things revolve around a certain theme. Like Sunday when there were references to the Goonies all day long. Two different friends in two different states watched it which spawned ME watching it, and the beat goes on. This happens a lot with the Goonies. Because it's awesome. Now I want a Baby Ruth. I'm kidding, I don't actually think I like Baby Ruth, they are a little too sweet. Like my coffee this morning. But the Stevia is covering up the terrible coffee so I am not complaining too loudly.

This morning, I woke up to the sound of NPR discussing sea snails off the coast of Baja, CA and to introduce the segment, they played the Monty Python Gastropod skit from, I believe, The Meaning of Life. Then, Passive Aggressive Notes referenced The Life of Brian. and THEN Liv Lane brought it all back to The Meaning of Life again and I had to say something.

I just hope that this doesn't mean that I will come home to a dead parrot.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Please treat me like a lady

I've been rolling this around in my head like marbles in a glass jar since last night. Not only am I not sure how to approach it but I am not sure if perhaps it is just me. If maybe I missed something (else) in my upbringing that said that this is normal and that I am not. But I don't think so. I don't think so because it's upsetting and makes me feel icky. And in that case, I can generally say with certainty, that it's not me, I'm just the one who is calling out for change.

By the way, I know exactly where my marbles are. My purse, on the other hand, is still missing.

I'm talking about the way I am treated by men. Not all men, mostly men my age. Some that I have dated, some I am not interested in that way.

I look at myself and ask how I can possibly be inviting this, and I really don't think I do. 

Last night I got into a conversation with a fellow through the game I am allowing to suck my time away on Facebook. Within half an hour we went from "how's life in NYC" to "Maybe I'll cook you breakfast sometime" There was no innuendo. There was no discussion on what we were wearing. Sure, we might have been talking about cooking, but I'm more interested in trying out his recipe for chicken marsala than finding out if he makes good pancakes.

Breakfast. I know what that means. I'm not an idiot. How nice that you want to sleep with me, but really? I've never met this man in my life and you are talking about cooking me breakfast? Then you ask about my "tits and ass"? REALLY? Do I have them?? (I replied that I'm a woman I have them.)

I'd write it off as "this guy is an asshole" but honestly, I have been running into similar things for many years. And it was underlined by another fellow I was talking to last night who is just a friend, but in the process of trying to make me blush; he brought up a couple of things that I didn't think was appropriate in a platonic conversation. I brushed them off, but...

Why in the world would a man make a reference about me riding lawnmowers like I would a man? What does it matter what kind of underwear I wear?

What makes it any one's business what I do beyond closed doors? I try not to talk about my sex life (except in reference to not having one, but even then, not so much), it's no one's business - as far as anyone is concerned, I am neuter unless I choose to tell you otherwise. I think of you the same way unless I am sleeping with you or hoping to.

Is that it then? Do men only talk to me because they are hoping to sleep with me? Was the last boy correct when he said that people only talk to me if they want something? That was not the world I was brought up in. In my family, we talk to everyone. It's hard for me to understand that every person who approaches me wants something from me. And that idea makes me want to retreat into my shell and stay there.

Except that it's not just acquaintances and men on the Internet. (who seem to think that if I am talking to them that I want to sleep with them.) There are a couple of men that I have dated who, in hindsight, treated me more like a bit of meat rather than a partner with boundaries. Like the one who tried to grab a handful of hooha in the middle of a party. And the one who, recently, sent me text letting me know that he had an erotic dream about me. We haven't dated in awhile. He has a girlfriend. I still haven't mentioned that it's over between the last boy and I, so as far as he's concerned, I still have someone in my life. Ok, that's the same guy. But there are other examples with other people where I look back and I think, wow. He didn't respect me at all.

We watch TV shows like Mad Men and marvel at how chauvinistic the men are. We are amazed at the blatant sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace on that TV show, but as soon as we walk out the door of our workplace, suddenly all bets are off.

Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps this is the manner in which men and women are supposed to interact. Perhaps my dislike of it is what keeps me from being in a lasting relationship.

It just seems to me that men and women should be able to show interest without making the other party feel dirty and used. It seems to me that I should be able to have a conversation with someone without sex entering the conversation. My mind is as dirty as the next one. And in the proper setting, I really let loose sometimes. Not to strangers. Not personal things. More along the lines of "That's what (s)he said" and other one liners that appeal to my inner 12 year old.

I suppose the trouble is, that I am looking for men to behave like gentlemen. And yes, I do think a woman should act like a lady. I try to. And I expect to be treated like one. 

Why do I fear that I am going to continue to be disappointed?

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

No Really. I might be suffering

I'm not certain at what point a person can be considered a candidate for early onset dementia. I'm beginning to think that someone should nominate me.

I am, forgetful. I remember silly things like how scratchy the izod velour pantsuit my mom's boyfriend bought me when I was 4 or so felt. I have trouble, though, with more contemporary issues. I've missed appointments, forgotten to call, burnt dinner.

Actually, I don't burn dinner so often anymore because the dog reminds me that there's something I'm forgetting in the kitchen.

this weekend though, it takes the cake.

I've lost my purse. It's somewhere in my house (I hope). I had it Saturday night. I had it Sunday morning. I lost it before I left to go hang with the girls on Sunday evening. I vaguely remember picking it up with the intent to vacuum. I remember putting it somewhere that made sense at the time as a new place to keep it where I wouldn't forget to grab it in the morning and it would no longer be on the floor next to the door where things tend to gather.

"Put it in a safe place" is absolute code in my family for "it's lost forever". Add that to the fact that I'm a squirrel at heart, and there are weird things stashed everywhere. I found $60 in a deck of cards once. I found my cell phone in the linen closet once. I forgot to feed the bird on many occasions.

I have checked high and low. In every cabinet, on every shelf. I checked my room, the spare room (long shot, I only go in there to prepare it for guests) the bathrooms (both of them) the laundry room and the kitchen. I looked in the liquor cabinet twice.

This is not a tiny clutch. It's a sizable bit of baggage.

I have the nessecities. Bank card, ID, Keys, cell phone. I checked to see if the Mastercard has been used (nope). Since I was home during the time it went missing, if it was stolen, the person would have had to sneak in without alerting myself or the dog, who goes nuts  if you set foot on my driveway.

Just now, I checked the microwave. I would have looked behind the espresso machine but HOLY SHIT there's a giant black widow over there. the size of my thumb. Did I mention that I also have trouble with space perception? Even so. giant black widow.

This morning, I woke up certain that I knew where it was. And relived because I REALLY WANT MY IPOD. It wasn't there.

I have run out of potential hidey-holes. which means I must be going crazy.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Turn of phrase

I'm thinking that "I'm glad everything came out okay" is not the best phrase to use when talking about my coworker's new granddaughter...

*forehead slap*

I think I need to start designing greeting cards.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Little Bliss list

Good morning! Things have been going... better. It's been a busy week and the next couple plan to be busy too, but there's lots of excitement in the air. Here is my little bliss list for the week!

1. Getting organized. Not only am I clearing things out, but i have started to make a list of things I need to do around the house. Room by room, I went through and started noting things. Some are small, some are big. Some will cost money, and some I can do with materials on hand. I have already started knocking out the list and while I know it will continue to grow, it feels good to accomplish, and to treat my house like a properly planned project rather than an overwhelming mess.

2. I gave myself the first part of my birthday present this week and I LOVE IT.

3. I knocked out a couple of reasonably sized bills this week. Not by paying them, but by calling to either pay them (insurance took care of that one) or to dispute the charges. The dispute went as well as it could considering I learned that my old dentist had several strokes over the last year, but the good news is, that they are writing off the $270 in charges I never incurred. You can imagine my shock at opening that bill!! I wish my old dentist good health.

It's a pretty small list this week. Not because I am unhappy, but because it went by so dang fast!!

Thanks to Liv Lane for hosting such a positive exercise each week!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Crap! I ran out of preposted posts!

I've been kind of busy. I know, excuses, excuses. I'm sure I will have more neurosis soon though, my birthday is almost here. and September always freaks me out a bit. Not because of my birthday, but because it tends to be a month of drama. I wrote about it, but then it sounded all negative and I'm feeling pretty darn positive lately.

It really helps that my birthday present to myself this year is epically wonderful. I'm going to be vague because I don't want to be all gung ho and then fall off. I do that. Fall off. A lot. I don't want to this time.

Today I want to talk about yesterday. Yesterday I had time between work and a board meeting and so I thought, "Hey! I'm going to go to the bar!" One drink. I'm not the kind of person who really goes to bars alone but I know a couple of the owners, they are nice guys, and one drink doesn't equal a problem.

Actually, after the heavy drinking I did last year (Dude. the Dr checked my liver with my thyroid. I must have been drinking a lot) I think the alcoholic gene might have skipped me. Which is good. I will still watch myself.

ANYWAY, I planned to go to the bar after work. But I went to the craft store instead. I picked up the item I needed, and looked for more items I needed. All in all, I spent a good hour there just wandering around. At least, it felt like an hour. Since I couldn't find the other item I needed, and I didn't find anything else I "needed", I left. Having bought 2 things. A cake decorating tip for $1 and some Almond Roca because I didn't want to put $1 on my debit card.

WIN!! Do you know how strange it was for me to go through a craft store looking at stuff and going, "don't need that, don't need that, don't need that either". It actually felt better than acquiring things. Next step? Get rid of all the things. I still haven't had my garage sale.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

As time goes by

I'm sure I have mentioned it numerous times in the last couple of weeks, but it's been 5 years since I moved from my comfy little apartment to this wild adventure that is Northern Nevada. You  know, because it's like the wild west up here...

Things haven't really gone the way I planned, except that they kind of did.

The job I came up here for? Didn't work out. In a big dramatic way. And I had to take a pay cut to get another one. BUT

If I had stayed in San Diego, I would have been laid off.
My years with PetSmart (ooh! big reveal!) were some of the happiest working years I have ever had. They were a good employer and the building I worked in had a good attitude overall. I looked forward to going to work every day.
I was still able to buy a house.
I got my dog.
I've met some really great people and had some really good times.

Sure, it hasn't always been all hearts and flowers, I've had some really tough times. It's been really hard to be away from my family, knowing that my nieces are growing up hardly knowing me. Needing my mom. Needing my siblings. Needing the friends I have had since I was young. There's just something comfortable and different, something unexplainable about being around the people who know you best. And love you anyway.

At the same time, I am so fortunate, so incredibly blessed to have found the people here that I have kept in my life. Some have left and come back, some I miss a lot. We aren't talking about them right now.

It's been a good, solid, overall happy 5 years. I wonder what the next 5 will bring?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The latest

Every so often, I check in with the Bug Guy (remember him?) to let him know how things are going. I'm not very good at keeping in touch with people so I go months without contacting him, but he always seems happy to hear from me. today's message looked like this:

Checking in. Not married. Last relationship ended. Still hurting. How are you?

He's well. He started his own business and it has expanded. And then he said this:

Sorry to hear about your last relationship. You will overcome. You're Gina  (edited for grammar)

Funny, how he's the first person to say that before I could. It felt good to have someone say so.

I do still hurt. I didn't mean to hurt this long just as I didn't mean to care so much about someone who was either going to turn out to be the guy I thought he could be or he was going to break my heart. I know the worry about getting hurt colored my actions. I'm not an idiot.  But I also think maybe he was doing the same thing. Or, maybe like Poo said, he's just an idiot. I was too, in my own way. It's a hard place to be, stuck between hope and hurt.

Either way, I WILL overcome. I know I will. And knowing that keeps me going on the bad days. One day, there won't be anymore of those. Until then. I'll keep distracting us both with tales of my neurosis.

Monday, August 27, 2012

I draw the line HERE

I am very open about my love of all things mason jar. I like to use them for canning things. (I learned that last year!) and for storing things (great for soup and milk in the freezer!!) and for drinking out of. The tiny ones fit one serving of juice to be taken and consumed at work. (I can also freeze those single servings since I can rarely get through a half gallon of juice before it goes bad) the bigger ones hold soup. Nothing leaks. Nothing spills.

I drink koolaide and cocktails, iced coffee and tea. Sometimes, I don't even know why I have regular glasses except that sometimes I have company and my friends are not as enamored as I am.

I know. they're popular right now. I don't really care. I'll still be drinking out of mason jars after everyone else is done with them. You can take the girl out of the country, but lets face it, I'm a hillbilly at heart.

Since I am decluttering, I've pretty much gotten rid of all the old random jars I was keeping to put stuff in. I buy mason jars anyway. I use them for everything, I may as well just use those. The "mason jars" with handles? they're all ready for garage sale or donation. Someone else can love those. Plus, they aren't heat safe, which is why I have three, not four of them.

Today, however, on, I saw something that made me want to cry a little.

Mason Jars. glued to candle sticks to make them in to goblets.


Lets stop trying to make a spade into a  silver gravy ladle. It's an effin shovel. Go ahead and drink your margarita or wine out of a jar. Gluing a base to it does NOT make it a goblet. I get it. It's mildly funny. And I might have been more amused if I hadn't seen a set of red solo cups glued to those same candle sticks at a garage sale last weekend.

Not my garage sale. this one was so big I couldn't compete.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dealing with myself. Part 6 - The now

I still slip. My house is a testament to that. And the other day when I was dusting ( I'm back on the Flylady Program. YAY!!) I realized that I don't really want to dust all that stuff anymore. I looked in the cracks and crevices of my house and realized that I can't see my baseboards anymore. Stuff, has accumulated.

It's been about 10 years since I moved out of that cluttered apartment. Just slightly less since I walked into my storage unit and started cleaning it out, exclaiming with each opened box, "Why in the world have I been holding onto this?" I still have a couple of boxes of stuff that I just can't seem to get rid of. One is letters and such. One holds the She Ra and Crystal Castle I bought on ebay after I moved out of C's place. (and my cabbage patch kid)

I have gotten rid of a lot of accumulation over the last 10 years but I have also accumulated a lot. Although I went through my books recently, I still have many that I haven't looked at in years. Decorations that I bought with intent that never materialized. I have boxes in the garage that I haven't unpacked from moving to Nevada 5 years ago.

I have some cool stuff. But I am ready to have it be other people's cool stuff. Those mason jar glasses I thought were super cool because who doesn't love to drink out of mason jars? getting rid of them. I usually just drink out of a mason jar.

There are several things that are pushing this. And I can't say how long my motivation to de-clutter will last.

1. The last boy? I never invited him over. Partly because he often made me feel ashamed of my neighborhood, often because I know that it tends to smell like bunny, and also because he too is a neat freak (I tend to like those). If we went out, I met him at his place. In a year of dating, he never stayed the night, and came over MAYBE 5 times. I'm erring on the high side. I have wondered how much of my insecurity over my home caused the eventual demise of the relationship. Granted, I didn't think he wanted to come to my house, but I also assumed that he didn't want to. That he was judging my home. Did he give me reasons to feel this way? yes. But I likely built those reasons up to be more unreasonable than they needed to be. When I start dating again (totally not ready.) I would like to feel comfortable having that man over to my house. I would like to open my door and not worry about him immediately thinking I am a slob. In short,I want to be proud of my home.

2. My mother. I was on the phone with my mom the other day and admitted that I had slipped in my diligence with cleaning. She asked if my house looked that that cluttered apartment. It doesn't. But it would certainly be easy to get back to that place. It hurt that she would think that I haven't matured beyond that level of slobbery, but I know she didn't mean it that way.

3. The couch in my living room currently has crafting stuff on it. So I have been sitting on the floor. I like the floor, I vacuum frequently, it gives me the opportunity to snuggle the dog. That doesn't make it right.

4. I've been thinking about getting a roommate. I was browsing the craigslist ads when I thought that I should run the idea by my advisors. As I was typing it out, I started to ask whether they would pay to live in my house. My answer to that was no. If I was looking for a room to rent, I wouldn't rent mine. My spare room is the cleanest room in my house. It would take less than 20 minutes to get it roomer ready if I didn't paint. BUT, I would also be sharing the rest of my house. There's the rub.

I'm having a garage sale. I'm pretty excited about it. maybe I will manage to fill the whole driveway with stuff! I have a pretty big driveway.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Little Bliss List

It's been a couple of weeks since I have joined in the little bliss. To be brutally honest, it's been a little hard to find bliss that didn't start and end with my dog. I left the space on Fridays open because I expected to have something, and then, Thursday being a generally difficult day for me, I just didn't have anything when the time came. I should have posted about the dog anyway because being greatful lifts me up.

So, here is my list of things that made me smile this week:

1. I made apple butter from free apples I got at work! My coworker is bringing more and I'll be making enough to share. She's also going to bring me some peaches. I love summer and I love free fruit!
2. That dog. He's adorable. Since my couch is still covered in crafting, I've been sitting on the floor more and we both love the opportunity to lay next to each other. Plus, I have plenty of access to his ticklish feet. If you have never tickeled a dog's feet, you're missing out. The facial expressions are priceless.
3. Garage sailing was awesome last weekend! I didn't bring very much home (this is a good thing) in fact, I passed up a $20 piano (I was tempted, but it broke the rules. Where would I put it? how would I get it home?) but I walked at least 6 miles and spent a lot of quality time with Ms Jackie (Wifey's twin).
4. ACTUALLY Ms invited me over to hang on Friday night too! I love to be invited. in my mind, invited = wanted. even if I can't go, the invitation is appreciated with all my heart. I DID go though and we played games and ate fresh cookies and talked about scary things that make a person want to go hide. Yup, we discussed... STDs. I threatened to glue my hooha shut.
5. I got to play with Ms J's chickens. Birds always bring me joy. I love the feel of their feathers.

That's all I have for now. But it's a lot. And even more because it's actually Thursday and I am feeling happy. Which is another thing to be greatful for.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Nail Biter

I was a nail biter as a child. chomp, chomp, I'd bite until there was nothing there. Sometimes I'd go too far and bleed, but I just couldn't stand having any sort of fingernail even though I wanted to have them. My Seester had pretty nails. So did my cousin. But I, was a biter. chomp chomp. (dirty habit!)

Fast forward to Jr High when I read in a teen magazine that boys like long nails. Painted. At that point I decided that if I was ever going to have a boyfriend, I needed to drop some bad habits. Like, biting my nails. So, being the determined person I am, I stopped biting my nails. And I painted them . And I made sure that the boy I liked saw my long pretty red nails.

He still wasn't interested. Teen Magazine lied to me.

I never took up being a nail biter again and maintained pretty nice ones up until massage school. They all got cut off for cleanliness and non scratchy reasons. They stayed that way until I retired and decided I could afford fake nails.  I loved my fake nails, but the cost was prohibitive and I decided I couldn't afford them any more after awhile. Whew. Run on.

Lately, I've been keeping them somewhere in between; just over the tips of my fingers unless they got too raggedy. BTW, I don't file my nails. it grosses me out.

For some reason, last night, I decided any nails at all was just dirty and nasty. I'm sure it had something to do with getting hamburger under there but suddenly, I felt like this:

Off they went. shudder.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It turns into a real problem - Adulthood - part 5

My first apartment was pretty small but I could afford it. How much room does one person need, anyway? 600 square feet at $495 a month wasn't bad at all! (it had some interesting issues though)

The funny thing about your first home is that people suddenly have stuff they can give you. A lot of my first furniture came from Seester who was moving out of her place and in with cousins while she finished school. She also bought me my first set of drinking glasses, pots and pans, and several other home items she knew I would need. I had a few things from starting my "hope chest".

It didn't take me long to get a cat (added to the parakeet I already had). Not long after that, D moved in. Then he got his own cat. We were broke. If someone offered us something, we accepted. His mom gave us a lot of food (which tended to be left in the living room until put away. She was a compulsive coupon shopper). I recall that the living room was usually neat (D is a very tidy individual) but the bedroom was a mess. The closet was full of clothes, on the floor, on the rack. D actually had more clothes than I did so I was able to blame this on him.

Then we moved out separately and I had more room. So I filled it. I had a better job and suddenly had disposable income. I shopped. If I was unhappy, I would go to the mall. I'd hit the craft store, Wal Mart, anywhere, and buy things just because I could. My new, bigger place was a mess. To save money, I invited D and his new roommate to move in. He was able to have an escape area in the dining room, which he took over as his office. Everywhere else though, it was kind of a miracle it you could walk. I would joke that it was possible that I could trip and die in my computer area. There wasn't a path, there were places I could step and hit carpet. In the bedroom, was the "volcano"; a mass of clothing that was piled in a tub, roughly cone shaped. We still joke about the volcano.

I didn't think it was that bad because my friends would still come over. The roommates didn't complain. Even the eventual new roommates didn't complain. I eventually got rid of the volcano and kept up my bedroom, but the rest of the house, well...

It wasn't until I started packing up to move in with C that I realized just how bad it had gotten. I had already put restrictions on my purchases, which I still follow (mostly. sometimes I slip.) but I had lived in that apartment for 5 years. There was a lot of accumulation. I discovered bags of new stuff that I had purchased and never put away. Things that I had two of because I had forgotten that I already had one. I got rid of a lot, but still had a storage unit. All my stuff wasn't going to fit at C's house.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

I am a constant navel gazer

I am, if you haven't noticed, (and if you haven't noticed then you aren't paying attention) a navel gazer. NOT a Naval gazer, although, seriously, you can call me when you get OUT of the military. In a couple of months. (I'm kidding)

I look at myself, mentally, a lot. It's a bit of an obsession especially in the wake of relationship turmoil. Not just romantic relationships but also friends, family, and work associates. If there was drama, or hint of drama, or QUESTION of maybe some sort of personal discomfort between us, you can bet that I'll be in the shower talking to myself that night about how I behaved, whether I caused the situation through my actions, what I can do to change my behaviors in the future.

This might be crazy, but it's how I deal with life. It's how I realized that there are things that I just can't control. Things about myself, and most especially things about other people. Talking it out helps me tremendously. It's my therapy (along with singing it out, which, I suspect the neighbors can hear, but you know, I can pretend that they don't).

Sometimes, this leads to an apology on my part. Sometimes I just feel better, sometimes I tell myself that I will handle things differently next time, and if I am playing the "what if" scenarios in my head and getting all worked up over something, I remind myself that whatever it is will likely NEVER HAPPEN so I need to mellow out and move on.

This is going somewhere, I promise.

I'll be 35 next month. This means that I have been playing the dating game for a very long time. Statistically longer than most. I've broken a few hearts, and had mine smashed plenty. I've seen the romantic movies, heard the stories, read the books and I've taken the advice. I've tried online dating, meeting guys at work, through friends, in bars. I've been on blind dates, I've been on dates where the guy didn't look like his online picture, and dates where he did. I've had crushes that turned into something more, I've had hope, and I've recoiled.

After a relationship ended I have mourned for too long, not long enough, or just simply didn't find anyone interesting for years at a time. I've gotten into relationships because it was better than being alone (bad idea). I've tried dating more than one person at a time (WORSE idea). I've dated people I wasn't that into (absolutely the worst idea ever), and I have been on the wrong side of that painful situation. I've been casual, serious, a friend with benefits, and, I fear, a bootie call which is something I never intended to be and something I never want to be again.

I've tried looking and not looking.

With the exception of singles clubs (I looked into Sierra Club Singles but it just looked like SO MUCH WORK!! Meetings and outings and dues, OH MY!), speed dating, matchmaking services and attending church (which would be like LYING) I've tried just about every scenario that well meaning folks suggest.

I've stuck to my "list". I have deviated from it (bad idea! no need to settle!!). I've dated much older (well, much for me) and much younger (once again. We're talking like, 8 years in either direction)

Do you know what I learned about dating? I need to play by my own rules.

If I don't think I'm ready get involved someone? I shouldn't go out looking.
I can look or not look, it doesn't matter. The result will be the same.
My list is there for a reason, and it's not absurd, it's not being picky, it's knowing that there are things I am looking for in a partner and that those things are important to me.
Just because a fella meets all the criteria on the list, doesn't make him right for me. (this one is a tough one. REALLY tough. like, I want to cry just typing it out because it was a PAINFUL lesson. A lesson I've been slapped in the face with several times.)
If I am unhappy about something, there's probably a valid reason. And I need to bring it up so we can work it out before it turns ugly. I am NOT a pretty crier.
Bootie call agreements are not for me. Neither is casual. I need both parties to be all in and working at it. I know that dating is the trial period before deciding whether a person is someone you want to spend your life with. But when you find yourself at home more often than not knowing that the person you are seeing isn't as into you as you are into them, it hurts. My Seester once said something to me when I was mourning too long. She asked, "Why do you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you?" She was right. I DON'T want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me. Sometimes, it just takes awhile to realize that's what is going on. If he's not treating me like I matter in his world, I probably don't. As my wife once asked about a different man, "Is this really better than being alone?" No. It isn't. I'd rather be alone than miserable over a man who is treating me like I'm only good for one thing when it is convenient for him. I wouldn't treat someone else like that, why should I allow it for me?

Some might say that it is silly to try so hard to find Mr Right. That I should learn to be happy with who I am. That I need to love myself before I can be loved by someone.

I call Bullshit. I know that I will always have room to improve. I can be happy with myself while still admitting that I have flaws. No one is perfect and if you are trying to love yourself the JUST way you are, then you're giving up on the pursuit of self discovery and improvement. I want to be the best person I can be, alone or with someone. And as far as trying so hard? I realized the other day that there is a biological need to have a partner. There are only so many biological things I can ignore.

Humans weren't meant to be alone. We are community creatures. If we were meant to be alone all the time, we wouldn't have a drive to find a partner. I know how to be alone. I've quite literally spent years without a romantic attachment. I know who I am when I am by myself. I navel gaze enough to know when that person is vastly different than the person I am when I am with someone.

When they are vastly different people, I need to walk away. And go have a long talk with myself in the shower.

Monday, August 20, 2012

No, I really do have a problem, pt 4, the teen years

We moved out when I was nearly 15 to start a new life. Money was tight so a trip to the Dollar Store was a huge treat. We were each allowed to pick out one thing each week so I would often choose lipstick (red) eyeliner (black) or a scrunchie. (it was the 90's, what do you want?) My dad started buying my school clothes my freshman year so my days of hand me downs was over (for a bit).

It was easy that first year not to gather. Any money I made babysitting was squirreled away to pay for driver's ed courses. From that apartment we moved into a larger condo and I had my own room for the first time. I started gathering things again. From fabric for my blooming sewing interest to clothes to books, to little science experiments (that attracted ants) my room would go from disaster to meticulously clean. Most of the time, as long as I kept my door shut and didn't attract ants, my mom was fine with my mess.

The difference was though, that now I had started attaching memories to things. I held onto things to remember so and so. Had to keep this, it was a gift from Grandma. A leaf from a tree that fell on me during lunch. (I was a bit of a flower child) I had gotten rid of many of my stuffed animals, but we all know how those gather up again.

As I got older, I started gathering the things I thought I would need when I moved into a place of my own. A hope chest. Then I turned 18 and moved out, and everything I owned fit into a 5 x 10 storage until while I went to Americorps.

Suddenly, I had disposable income. and was walking distance from Target. I could have anything I wanted and bought it. I have never grown out of this. My roommate stopped getting written up for my mess, which wasn't bad, but wasn't good enough for military standards. I think they stopped writing me up too. I really did try during that year and have memories of a fairly clean space.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Wing Man. I mean, Woman.

For all the drama and frustration that Roller Derby brings into my life, (and there is a lot, I just don't discuss it because I don't want to cause more) I have met some really wonderful people.

You know that I will talk all day about how blessed I am to have my wife (and her sister) in my life. I can't say enough good stuff about Bratty. Which is good since I spend more time with her than anyone on earth. The dog doesn't count, he's not a person.

Last week, I went to a going away party for a lady who is a lot of fun. We were team mates and often partnered up for drills because we are about the same size. She's a woman who I have a lot of respect for and who is moving to Sacramento. Her boss, who is my dentist (although he didn't recognise me with my mouth closed) threw her a party at the bowling alley (kid friendly) and fed us all pizza and beer. (I stuck with root beer)

At one point, there was a pan full of pepperoni pizza. I had eaten an sandwich before I went and 1 piece of pizza while there. In all factuality, I was full. Not overfull, satiated. But that pizza was there, practically licking my elbow like the dog does when he wants my attention.

I finally reached for a piece. Enter Durty Minion who looked at me and said, "you don't want that". I was surprised. I'm not used to anyone telling what I should and shouldn't eat. In fact, the last time I can recall being questioned about what I was eating was when I was in my early twenties and about to bite into a donut and the boy at the time looked at me and said "you aren't going to get fat again are you?"

So, I was taken aback, but not at all offended because she was right. I didn't want another piece of pizza, I was just eating it because it was there. She suggested that I have a piece of gum instead. And you know what? it worked. (mint gum and root beer, not so good).

When Whoop, the guest of honor sat down and grabbed a piece and took a bite, Durty was there to say, "you don't really want that!" Shocked, I suggested that perhaps she did, but it turns out, Whoop didn't want it, she was eating it because it was there.

It's not just me!!

We all sat and talked and chewed our gum until it was time to go.

We have a grazing culture. Because food is plentiful and available, we just eat it. We aren't eating because we are hungry or because we need sustenance, we eat because it is there.

I could go into all sorts of ideas about how this is left over from the hunter-gatherer times when we didn't know when our next meal would be, but in all honesty, we're Americans. And overindulging is what we do. We go to all you can eat buffets and gorge. We have parties where the food is just there for the taking and so we take. and talk. and eat some more even though we are full. We eat bags of chips without a second thought. Munch cocktail weenies and onion dip like they are going out of style.

Then we wonder why we are fat.

So today, I am thankful for my friend Durty who wasn't afraid to be my foodie wing woman and remind me to eat when I'm hungry, not because it's there.

It's amazing, how great I feel since I stopped overindulging. My belly doesn't hurt and I don't feel as sluggish. I have to eat more often and I am still getting used to that (last weekend there were a couple of food emergencies. One while out garage sailing Saturday when I didn't eat breakfast and one on Sunday when dinnertime hit and I realized that I had ONLY had breakfast.) I feel more energetic. I don't know if it's helping my physique, but hey, in a week of trying, I think I'm already making good progress.