My First Four Weeks at the New Job…

Well, as I told you in my last post, I recently got a new job.  It’s the same job that I was doing before, but it was a good move financially, and the new job allows me some liberty to get into the aspects of my industry that I really like.  Additionally, I needed a less-stressful environment (or a different kind of stress, at least), and I’m getting to the point where I feel that I’m going to get that.  So, after a month, I’m starting to feel like I’m a part of the new place.  It helps that there are five of us who have come over here, so I immediately had a group of people with whom I was familiar.  I’m also finally feeling challenged again, and like I’m a part of the process rather than “just another customer service rep.”  However, I’m still not entirely at ease yet….so, in the long run, I know this place will be less stressful, but right now, I’m still suffering from the (good) stress of getting adjusted.  I’ll gladly take that over the previous environment, though!!

Shelli’s adoptiversary was last Saturday; we gave her some treats and she was largely nonplussed by the entire thing.  I can’t believe it’s been five years.  I’m a little sad about it…she’s all grown up now, and the memories of that first “kitten” year seem so far in the past.  I’ve also been pretty depressed lately about the fate of many shelter pets.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m cut out to have kids, because at this point, I’d rather spend my time, money, and effort on rescuing animals.  Try explaining that to church people who look at you like you’ve just denounced Christ Himself.  Knowing what I know about God, though, He gave me this tenderness toward animals for a reason, so I’m just trying to go with the feeling and let Him change my mind about kids if/when it happens.  I would love to be able to get another kitten, but I’m just not sure that Shelli would be able to handle it.  I wish we could’ve afforded to take her sister, too, but we were so poor back then that Shelli’s medical care that first three months almost put us into debt.  It would have been worth it to take the risk, though, because I got a pretty nice raise about a month after we adopted her, and I think she would have been a little less paranoid and crabby toward people.

I’m still struggling with motivation to take care of myself and get myself back in some sort of shape.  I gained my last thirty pounds pretty rapidly since November, and it’s taking a toll on my skin, which is pretty demoralizing.  I was discussing the situation with a friend Friday at lunch who deals with anxiety like I do who’s going through a similar issue, and I explained the motivation problem to her like this:  you have a finite pool of energy and emotion from which to draw, and when you expend so much on being anxious about this or that, it leaves the pool empty when it comes time for other things, like cooking and cleaning and exercising.  Apathy is what’s left, and then you just don’t have the effort to expend to try to better yourself.

But there’s got to be a way.  That’s my mission for the summer….to find that way.

Chuck Norris Meets Dante’s Inferno…

The highlight of my week?

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It doesn’t take much, eh?  I’ve been having to use a stupid infrared optical mouse for the last week or so because my old trackball died.  My new one finally came.

In other news, Joey is capable of doing PhD work while serving as a cat-nap surface.

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It’s been a strange week….lots of fires to put out at work (not literal ones.  Dad.), and I haven’t been very successful at it.  In happier news, the weather has finally cooled down enough that I can go down to the car and nap during lunch again:).

Or knit.

What I’m currently knitting:

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I LOVE this yarn color…it’s actually Hobby Lobby’s I Love This Yarn! in some sort of autumny self-striping colorway.  Pretty sweet.

Progressively, I’ve been able to get myself back out to the outer rings of Hell, at least (hence the Dante comment)…as I definitely hit the Eighth Circle somewhere between Tuesday and Yesterday.  I’m currently sitting between the First and Second now, which I’ll accept.  Don’t worry…it’s all because of the afore-mentioned fires at work.

I wish Chuck Norris came in a pocket-sized version.  I’d love to take him with me wherever I go, to have him just in case I needed an impromptu can of WhoopAss to be opened.

Shelli’s Electra Complex…

I swear, I think I could drop dead right in front of her, and as long as daddeh was there, she wouldn’t care.  The sad part was that his hip has been bothering him (from his motorcycle accident ten years ago), and he really wasn’t comfortable with her laying on him.  And I was on the couch with a perfectly snuggly quilt, but she was noticeably disinterested.

Wingate is hosting the 2011 World’s Strongest Man Competition, and we went today to catch some of the fun.  We saw our US guy, Derek Poundstone, set a new world record in the metal block press.  He was great to watch…hamming it up for the crowd and everything.  We missed the Atlas stones, which is my favorite event, but it was still really cool.  One of the things that impresses me so much about an event like this is how “small” it is, for lack of a better term. Don’t get me wrong, there was a huge crowd, but we were standing right next to one of the British competitor’s wife, and the guys behind us were speaking some kind of slavic language and were definitly with another of the teams.  The Austrailian guy was out there with us all signing autographs.  I like that…these guys aren’t kept away from the crowds on a pedestal…they’re normal guys .  Derek is a cop in CT.  Anyway, here’s a pic of him making a new world record:

So, that was my day.  Now, I’m knitting something for a special Curly-Whirly friend of mine:)

Cat-Related Confessions

  1. I cry every time we leave for vacation because I don’t want to leave her.  This is one of the major reasons we bought a camper.
  2. I kiss Shelli on the lips. 
  3. Joey lets her lick his goatee.
  4. I let her drink out of my water glass.  She’s not a happy camper now that I’m on a seltzer-water kick.
  5. We put a litter box next to my side of the bed because she was peeing in the corner.  We attributed it to her feeling that it wasn’t fair that our bathroom was just a few feet away and hers was across the house. (she sleeps with us).
  6. I dressed her in a onesie for our family Christmas picture back in 2008, I think.  She was NOT a happy camper, and the look on her face was pretty shocking.  I sustained injury after the photo was taken.
  7. If a huge disaster was to strike, I would very likely rescue her first before helping people.
  8. Shelli does this thing where she stretches out and grabs her perch and does this crazy pull-up.  It’s pretty badass.  We call it her Bruce Willis Move.
  9. We have to play “Scarykins” every night where we shuffle around the house so that Shelli can hide behind something and jump out at us and then run away.  Sometimes, if I run away from her and jump onto our bed, she’ll follow me, jump up, totally freak out, and then run away.  It’s kind of awesome.
  10. Her favorite toys:  her white fuzzy mouse, her catnip cigar, her chirping mouse (it chirps every time it touches a surface.  Freaks the crap out of us at night when she starts playing with that thing), the toe of a sock that I cut off and filled with catnip.  And my hair ties.  There are hundreds of ponytail holders around the house and I can’t find ANY of them.
  11. We can’t put boxes or baskets out anymore because she thinks they’re litterboxes and pees in them.
  12. I wish I could be at home because I could spend all day with her.
  13. She smells really good.  Other cat people will understand this…there’s something about the kitteh smell that is wonderful.

Don’t judge me.

 

Early Morning Blues and Greens

She’s so pretty, isn’t she?  I know it’s a little blurry…it’s hard to get a face-shot of her without her moving.

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As usual, I woke up at 5:30 on my morning with no alarm.  I actually woke up at 5:25 and saw that my alarms weren’t set and freaked out, forgetting it was Saturday.  It hasn’t been too bad, though.  It’s 63* outside, so I’ve got the windows open and the breeze feels nice.  Shelli obviously likes it, too.

Today will be a thesis-filled day, which I research and write my first chapter.  The feedback on my introduction wasn’t too bad, and my advisor thinks that it’s headed in the right direction, so that encouragement has restored my self-confidence that I may not lay a steaming terd when this whole thing is said and done.

It’s been a rough week.  Phil found out Wednesday that surgery is not adviseable for his cancer.  Apparently the tumor is still too close to the vein to his pancreas, and doing surgery would just aggravate the cancer cells that are left and cause them to grow faster, so it would make his prognosis worse rather than better.  Even worse, he got the news during choir rehearsal on Wednesday, so he didn’t even have the chance to go home and process the news before having to tell us.  My heart is broken, and I’m having a serious crisis of faith about the whole thing.

What’s been pissing me off most, though, has been all of the “miracle talk” that’s still going on all over his Facebook.  Don’t misunderstand me, I do believe that miracles happen; I’ve seen things happen in my life that cannot be explained by any logical means without consideration of the involvement of divine intervention.  However, to continue to throw that talk out to him at this point trivializes the weight of his situation.  It’s flippant.  And it’s selfish.  I do believe that their intent is genuine; they want to see a miracle, and they want him to keep hope.  The problem, though, is that it does more harm than good.  Joey calls it “the Christian form of denial.”  Am I still praying for some kind of miracle?  Of course.  But, at this point, the definition of “hope” in this situation needs to shift and as such, so must the form of encouragement.

There are so many things that I think the Church (Big “C”) are getting wrong these days.  This is one of them.

This next week is going to bring us back into the nineties, which disappoints me.  I’m so ready for fall.  I come alive in Autumn and, for the past few years, in Winter, too.  It surprises me, because I used to have SAD so bad that I had to keep a UV bulb in my bedside lamp so I made it through the winter.  Now, the crisp coldness is a joy, and the few snow days that we do get are wonderful.  Precious few things are better than sitting in the living room with a steaming cup of coffee and the fireplace blazing while watching the kids sled down the never-treated roads of our neighborhood.  And the snow cream.  Can’t forget that.

Anyway, enough rambling.  Believe it or not, despite the tenor of this post, my meds are working quite well.  I am keeping perspective, even in my grief over the burdens so many of my friends are facing.  Once Joey (finally) wakes up, we’ll head out to Blessings Cafe for breakfast and pick up a track for the song I’m singing at James/Shannon’s wedding.  Then, thesis-thesis-thesis.

Here’s another Kins-bliss pic for your day:-)

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P.S–the title of this post comes from a Monkees song.  It’s quite beautiful.

I Just Emailed My Thesis Advisor a Terd

At least, I felt like I did.  One of the hardest things to overcome about writing this thesis is the expectation that I’m going to turn out something good on the first try.  I spent so much time agonizing about the introduction, and then my advisor comes back and tells me not to worry about it that much since I’m going to have to rewrite it anyway.  I knew that all along…I guess I got too caught up in that whole “fear of failure” thing.  I shouldn’t have been so scated to send my crappy draft to her.

Anyway, with that behind me, I’m going to wait until tomorrow to start on the first chapter.  Now, some club soda and Destination Truth:)

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She’s not sending you a terd.  I promise.

Better Labor Day..

I can’t remember if I showed you guys my desk-skull.  I made him a little do-rag so he’d look more badass.  I have him sitting in front of my houseplant, and he makes me smile.  Incidentally, everyone at my job has a piece of one original plant that my friend Cindy brought.  We’ve all been growing them, and they’ve all crawled so much that they’re starting to take over the office.  It’s our attempt to make the place less grey and fluorescent.  I haven’t named my desk-skull, though.  Any ideas?

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Anyway, I’m past my mini-meltdown from yesterday, I think.  I’ve decided that I’m going to let myself laze around until 10 or 11, and then I’ll hit my thesis introduction full-force.  Part of my anxiety over this is that I haven’t had to work on it since February when I got my prospectus approved.  Once I got that done, I had to focus on my class (Middle Eastern Lit), and by the time I was done with that, I was in the throes of my “chemical storm” )as my psychologist called it).  So, really, the past few weeks have been the first time that I’ve actually been able to get my brain back in gear again. Unfortunately, I’ve forgotten most of what I worked on and now I’m left looking at the blank page and feeling overwhelmed because I don’t even know where to begin.  I’ll get over it, though.  I’ve got no choice.

One of the major things that I’ve discussed with my psychologist over the past couple of years has been my sense of practicality and how it pushes away anything else.  I don’t take care of myself because I’m so busy trying to take care of everything else.  My motto has always been, “the world’s not going to quit spinning, and I’ve got to do my job, so I’ve just got to suck it up and get over it.”  I’ve been so busy trying to “suck it up” that I forget that it’s okay to take care of myself, that it’s not frivilous to put up Christmas decorations or to want to re-do my living room in earth tones and owls…that knitting isn’t a waste of my time…that a day trip to the mountains to hike is actually good for me.

I’m glad it’s going to be rainy for the next couple of days.  It’s always easier to concentrate on writing when it’s rainy outside.   I have absolutely no idea why. 

On an unrelated note, Joey moved our recliner back into the living room from the office.  I think someone else is enjoying it more than he is, though…

It’s just a matter of time before she realizes that I’m not going anywhere today and crawls up into my lap, rendering me incapable of moving but desperately needing to get up to pee.

A Foot of Hair…

For the record, I wasn’t supposed to get up for another twenty minutes or so.  Shelli decided otherwise…first, by running around like a cracked-out hamster, and second by deciding to poop in the bedroom litterbox (which is right next to my side of the bed), thereby emitting noxious fumes and scratching the side of the box trying in vain to cover up said noxious fumes.  At least she did it in the box.  And she’s cute, so she gets a pass.  Of course, in true cat fashion, she decided after I got up that she didn’t really want to play anymore.

So, yesterday, I liberated myself from something I’d been carrying around for two and a half years.

(my stylist is a friend from church and she did such a good job.  If you’re local and need to get your hair done, check out Top Notch Salon in Matthews and ask for Amber)

Yep, peace-out to the hair.  I had close to a foot, I think.  It’ll be going to Locks of Love when I get back from camping.  I still keep feeling is because it’s so light and nice.

So, I’ve got this dress fitting today.  Say a prayer/think good thoughts for me.  I’m terrified and bummed.  I hope it goes fast.

We’re also embarking on our camping trip today.  I’m excited!  I’ll be even more excited once we get the trailer backed in.  This will be Joey’s first time actually doing it other than his couple of dry runs Tuesday night.

I think we’re going to have wireless at the campground, so I’ll save my long-winded, philosophical posts until then.

And the Drama Begins…

Nothing super-dramatic, really.  Joey had a rough time getting the camper out of the backyard because it was still muddy from the colossal monsoon we had Saturday.  Backing the trailer into its spot will be an adventure on Thursday when we get to the campground.  Random things that happened:

  1. Shelli always has to be in the bathroom with me when I’m pooping.  It’s kind of strange.  Anyway, I was in there today and she jumped on the counter and gave me a head bonk.  And it was apparent that she had just finished up in her own litterbox.  Litter-smell right up the nose.  Ew.
  2. I started Jillian Michael’s Thirty Day Shred this morning.  It was challenging.  Much moreso because I was barely conscious at 5 am and hadn’t thought to put on the following:  sports bra, ankle wrap, socks, gym clothes, or tennis shoes.  Yep, I stumbled into the living room, half-alive, and proceeded to jump around for thirty minutes in my pajamas without any support for either my boobs or ankles.  Smart move.
  3. I went outside after Joey and his folks got back from his “camper-backing dry run” and spent ten minutes outside and managed to get thrice-bitten by mosquitos and once by a fire ant.  All on my ankles/toe.  So my big toe is killing me.  I was going to take a picture of the bite, but I forgot to shave my toes this morning and I’d rather just tell you about my hairy big toe than show you.
  4. I think I’ve hit self-destruct mode with this bridesmaid dress.  I’ve lost twenty pounds, yes, but as the fitting draws closer and closer, I find myself wanting to eat indiscriminately, as though sabatoging myself is somehow “sticking it to the man.”  How utterly ridiculous.
  5. I have a new obsession with seltzer water.  I don’t know why.  It’s wonderful.  Especially with a twist of lime:).  I’ve always been a big water-drinker, but adding fizzy bubbles to it without any artificial flavors/sweeteners?  It’s perfect!  It’s like the things I like best about both water and soda wrapped up in a nice, fizzy, cheap package!!
  6. Shhh….don’t tell anyone, but I’m about to make a HUGE appearance change tomorrow!!

Yep, that’s the musty, litterbox-headed culprit right there.

I’m Having a Hard Time Sleeping…

and, as such, I’m out on the couch watching episodes of Dirty Jobs, hoping that maybe I’ll drift off again in a few.  I have this horrible habit of cracking my knuckles in bed when I can’t get to sleep…popping any joint that I can get to pop, actually, and rather than driving Joey nuts (or at least cause him to have some horrible dream), I’d come out to the living room and give him some peace and quiet.  He’s had a hard time getting enough sleep too. 

My friend Angela lost her dog yesterday.  She found out at work and had to leave to go  be with her family.  He was 17 and had been with her through so many significant times in her life.  I cried off and on all day because I was so sad for her and because it threw me back into memories of Puss and then brought to mind the fact that Shelli is four already.  In just a couple more years, she’ll be considered a senior cat.  I almost can’t bear the thought of it.  And, because I’m sick like that, I Googled “memorial poems for pets” and read them and cried and cried.  I’m not sure why I did that…it seems a little twisted in retrospect.

I know that a lot of this is hormones…honestly, guys, my hormones have been so jacked up after the mental apocalypse that was the last six months that I don’t know whether I’m coming or going emotionally.  I’m going back to my PCP in the fall (so I can lose some more weight and he won’t tell me how fat I am) to try to get everything straightened out.  One thing I do appreciate about the first part of the year is that it’s renewed my motivation to take control of my own health and pay attention to myself rather than simply trying to get out of bed in the morning.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve been going back and reading my previous blogs, and I noticed that the past several ones have been pretty superficial…I’m sorry for that.  Honestly, I’ve done a pretty good job of pretending that I was doing okay…half of me didn’t want to be seen as weak and the other half didn’t want to burden others since most of my acquaintances didn’t really care about my situation anyway.  This whole ordeal has given me a new perspective on my friends at work and has made me appreciate so much how they really do care about me.  Even though I’m not thrilled about being in the cubicle world all day, I’m pretty blessed with coworkers who are really my friends and who worry about how I’m doing.

Chris and Daisy, I’ve been clinging to you every day.  It’s been a great help to have your blogs to read first thing in the mornings.

My bridesmaid dress fitting is on Thursday and I’m totally dreading it like it’s a trip to the dentist or a pap smear or something.  I’ve only lost about twenty pounds, and I was aiming for fifty or sixty.  I don’t even know if it’s really going to make a difference in the size of the dress.  I’m going to keep working on it, though, and I’ll probably go back toward the end of September to get fitted again.

I’m back on the thesis horse.  I feel like I can do it now that I’m more mentally stable, so I’m going to get that sucker done and graduate in December.  It’ll be taking an extra semester, but I’m okay with that.

Phil is hanging in there.  He’s got some more chemo and then a scan on the 31st that’ll dictate whether or not he can have the surgery to remove the diseased part of his pancreas.  If so, the surgery will happen on September 14th.  He and his family are so amazing and so strong.

So, that’s the heavy part of my life-update.  Here’s what I’m looking forward to now that I’m not an emotional basket case:

  1. knitting again!!  I’ve got two patterns and pretty yarn for some excellent frocks for Miss Daisy the Curly Cat :).
  2. writing, both academically and personally.  Blogging has always been theraputic for me, and I really appreciate that there are a precious few people out there who, for some ungodly reason, are interested in what I have to say.  I love each and every one of you.
  3. frugality.  Since we bought the camper last month, we’re going to have to be much more prudent with our funds to be able to handle paying for it.  I’m looking forward to having frugal challenges again and seeing just how much we can do with our funds.
  4. Fall!  Summer isn’t really fun for me now that I’m not in school and don’t get any time off.  And now that it’s so freaking hot here now.  I don’t remember it being quite so hot when I was younger.  Fall is the time of year when I really thrive and I’m at my best.  There’s something about the crisp air, pumpkins, spices, the changing leaves, fall camping.  It makes me feel alive.

Well, that’s all of the inner monologue that I have tonight, folks.  I’m going to kick back on the couch, start another episode of Dirty Jobs, and hope that I’ll be able to doze off for a while before my alarm goes off at 6:15.