Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Don't Mess With Sunday

Here's my typical Sunday:

Morning: 8am-master's swim practice or 9am-yoga or sleep in and let husband make breakfast, drink lots of coffee and embrace robe culture.

Afternoon: Catch up on what I blew off all week which may include: grocery store, laundry, bill paying, house tidying and aggravating Trudy by not letting her sleep.

Evening: Prep for upcoming week by getting lunch food organized, cleaning the gum wrappers from my purse, grouping workout clothes together, planning meals for the week and then stealing away to read a magazine while Husband watches a cartoon extravaganza of which I want no part.

Besides noticing that I'm horribly Type A, you will also notice something else -- nowhere in the plan is a dinner party included. That is because Sunday night dinner parties suck.

Please note that I am not saying the people at dinner parties suck, I'm saying planning crap on a Sunday night frustrates the hell out of me. Especially when it's thrown together last minute. Impulsiveness + encroachment of personal time = one unhappy Jen.

You may wonder, why didn't you just say no? I wasn't given the option. These friends are from out of town and the guy, who is a close friend of Husband, is a "hey-I'm-in-town-for-a-couple-hours-so-let's-do-something-right-now" kind of guy. He's lots of fun and so is his wife. However, I don't care if Russell Brand and Katy Perry want to hang out on Sunday night, I'll be mopey.

I was also called out by Husband last week for not being game for doing stuff I consider slightly inconvenient. So when told we'd been invited to a dinner gathering on the Sunday night at the end of a holiday weekend, I smiled tightly and tried hard to not express my displeasure.

I can hear what you're thinking. Geez, Jen, what a rough life to be invited to dinner with people you like. Call me curmudgeon. But the reality is I'm an anxious over-planner. Lexipro was created for people like me. The best way for me to find peace is to be organized. Take away Sunday night - my most important anti-anxiety window - and my mood goes south quickly.

Being newlyweds, Husband and I are still discovering how the other reacts in certain situations. I feel confident I will no longer be asked to join in anything, anywhere with anyone on a Sunday night. Now I'm off to yoga to work on some mental flexibility because after re-reading this post, I certainly need it.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A little something sweet

Oh, sugar. I love you so. It’s been a magical last few days as your abundance was celebrated. At home, at work, even in my car. (That’s what happens when you open a bag of Hershey bars on your drive home.)

My love affair with sugar started young and was heavily influenced by my father. Every lunch, dinner or spoonful of savory was followed by a little something sweet. Consequently, our house was littered with random piles of candy, usually purchased at a gas station since he traveled for work.

He kept a stash of taffy in the living room clock, cookies behind the phone books and butterscotch candies in the drawer next to his bed. And yes, I sought them all out. (My giant appetite was the reason he had to hide food in the first place, but that’s another story.)

Always the supporter of the underdog, my dad applied that philosophy to candy, as well. Really awful candy, my dad bought in bulk as if to say, “Don’t worry strange strawberry hard candy with a soft center, I’ll take care of you.” I think he bought Cherry Mashes only because they were made in St. Joseph, Mo.

So in addition to developing a major sweet tooth, I had no ability to discern between quality desserts and straight-up high fructose corn syrup. This is something I struggle with today. I love to bake (surprise!) and take pride in making items from scratch. No box mixes in my house. (To all the moms out there, I realize this will change if I have kids.)

But loving my Barefoot Contessa recipes as I do, I equally heart a Costco white cake with the pudding center. I can hear it singing out to me from the break room on the other end of the building and always partake. Oatmeal cream pie? Yes, please.

Someone suggested immediately brushing my teeth after dinner to keep from delving into the sweets. I laughed. Did she seriously think Crest could overcome the lure of Nutella? Silly girl. Never.

Friday, September 30, 2011

More Trudy Trials

The inevitable happened. Trudy's day care called on Wednesday and oh-so-kindly recommended she get more training before returning. So technically, she was not kicked out, but it may be awhile before she's welcomed back. While disappointed, this incident clearly indicates we're doing something wrong.

Trudy is fantastic. It's fairly disgusting how much we love her and when you love a dog that much, it's difficult to discipline them. (All you with kids are saying, "duh.") We have not done a good job of positioning ourselves as the pack leaders, so she's confused. Therefore, her aggression comes out at random times. Coincidentally, she is more aggressive when she's regularly attending daycare.

So no more day care for Trudy, which saddens me mostly because the burden then falls on us to wear this dog out. When Boyfriend's out of town, all three walks per day with some park time fall to me. While I enjoy this interaction with Trudy, sometimes you have a day when you just want to sit on the couch, spoon and peanut butter jar in hand and watch House Hunters. Not easy with a restless dog.

Needing to come up with a solution stat, I stumbled across KC Dog Runners. They will come to my house and take Trudy for a run several times per week. Yes, it's ridiculously expensive and many would say overindulgent, but I am ecstatic with this option.

One might ask, can't you run with her yourself? You are 3athletejen. Truthfully, I'm just not a consistent enough runner to take this on. Plus, it's going to get cold out soon and I'm a fair-weather runner only. Fingers crossed this is the answer to some of our issues. The other issues will be handled by the behavioral analysis we have scheduled in two weeks. Seriously.

The pic is Trudy with her peanut butter jar. However, she prefers Animal Planet over HGTV.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My lats are bigger than yours

Maybe. Maybe not. I do know that as a swimmer, there are a few muscle groups of which I can be proud. Lats. Triceps. Flexible ankles. Okay, so flexibility is not a muscle group, but I'm still counting it. Where am I going with this rambling post?

Here's the deal. If there was some sort of award for working out a lot, I may be in contention. Swimming, running, yoga, cardio....I can knock it out fairly easily. However, throw intensity in there and I have a problem. Not to mention a definite lack of strength. Ask my stepbrother about me try to do a pull-up. Singular. It was really more of me just hanging from the monkey bars and him laughing.

So I decide to mix it up. Try something new. $40 for six Bootcamp classes. Real Bootcamp, not YMCA Bootcamp. (Sorry, Y.) Monday, 4:45pm, a male instructor named Dana. Don't let the name fool you. For sixty minutes, I had my ass handed to me. As I'm struggling to do the ring push-ups - on my knees no less - it hits me. I suck at this. Really suck. Like no one wants to be stuck with me as a partner suck.

Embarrassing side note: I choose to wear one of my cheap Target t-shirts and running shorts. Not the best choice. Mostly because there is a reason the Target shirts are cheap and that is because regardless of deodorant and Tide detergent, the armpits smell like body odor the second you start to sweat. So I'm hanging from a bar trying to raise my knees to my elbows and then slowly lower them down, when Dana decides to assist me. Standing next to me, his head is directly in the B.O. danger zone. I'm sorry, Dana. I am hyper sensitive to hygiene, but clearly failed this test.

Regardless of my sad and smelly effort, I went back today on still wobbly legs and tried again. I like it, in some sort of sadistic way. We shall see how much I like it when it cost $129 instead of $40. We'll save that for another post. My smelly armpits and I must go to a meeting now.

P.S. For those expecting Reunion 102, my apologies. I'm including pictures, but just didn't have much more to say. It was a lovely weekend and I hope not to have to wait another ten years to see everyone. Yay, Hornets.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Reunion 101

Last night was the kick-off of my twenty year high school reunion. A school tour was planned (I was too late), a home football game was scheduled (I didn't make into the bleachers), and a follow-up gathering took place at a hole-in-the-wall bar. (I was one of the first to arrive.) So my priorities are clear.

It was a more intimate gathering than I expected -- around 25 people. Fortunately, I liked everyone there and let's be honest, this is all about my good time. Though the celebration continues tonight with a more formal and hopefully highly attended event, here are some tidbits that fall into the Reunion 101 curriculum.

1. You'll be nervous. (I speak for the women.) It doesn't matter if you're married, single, skinny, fat, successful or struggling. There's something about being faced with people that knew you at the most awkward stage in your life. You could now be a CEO of a Fortune 500, but just think about high school and you can feel your chin break out and your posture slump.

2. You will encounter people you don't remember. And they will remember you. Immediately. (Not sure this is a good thing.) So master the art of the polite, but inquisitive greeting. Most of the time, they'll catch your puzzled look and help you out. However, this is much easier to handle then #3.

3. You might warmly embrace someone thinking you know exactly who they are only to realize you are wrong and have no idea. Worse, they will know you and want to start conversation because you've shown such interest. Then you're stuck, planting questions in the conversation to help figure out who in the hell this is. When you realize this is a lost cause, just slowly slink away when they turn their attention elsewhere.

4. You will discuss things with classmates you never would have brought up in high school. One such subject might be "dental dams." Bring this up with a group and see how many people actually know what it is. Then see how many are saying yes when they have no idea. This is a fun party game. Feel free to use it at your reunion.

5. Your 20 year reunion is when you look at the current high school students and realize exactly how old you are. You also question when fishnet tights became appropriate for the cheerleaders.

6. People will be the same, but nicer. Once the initial nervousness fades, everyone is the same and that's comforting. The nice people are still nice. The funny are still funny. Hairlines may have receded and crow's feet have appeared, but people are here for the same reason as you - to see who's aged the best. (I'm totally kidding. That's probably reason #4.)

7. A nemesis in high school does not a nemesis now make. (Huh?) Someone who you may not have been friends with in high school may be someone you thoroughly enjoy now. Nemesis is an overstate, but you know what I mean.

8. I have more, but I need to use the next three hours to get ready for tonight. Reunion 101 will continue tomorrow.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Not-So-Elegant Canine

This is Trudy. More specifically, this is Trudy's butt. Her preferred sleeping method is head half under the bed, butt half out. This is not all that unusual for dogs, but it still makes me laugh.

In the two months since adopting Trudy, we have laughed many times at her antics. Getting asked not to return to dog daycare was not one of those times.

The Elegant Canine (TEC) was Trudy's first venture into daycare, as well as some one-on-one obedience training classes with the owner. The training classes went fine. The daycare did not.

As with most rescue dogs, we are clueless as to Trudy's life prior to being Trudy. She was found trotting through the neighborhood by a kind neighbor who rescued and fostered her until she was eventually initiated into the Saab household. Truth is, we suspect she was kind of a badass dog. Weighing in at a svelte 45 pounds, she doesn't cower from any one or any animal. I have this vision of her roaming the streets with nun chucks, sniffing out criminals to take down.

It boils down to the fact that Trudy is an alpha and while she gets along with ninety-five percent of the dogs she meets, there are a few nemesis dogs we try to avoid. As an alpha, she doesn't back down. So put her with another alpha and you see the problem. The is exactly what happened at TEC and when the worker reached in to separate the dogs, her hand ended up in Trudy's mouth and that's just not good. (For the record, the worker completely understood, but the owner/trainer was not so accepting.)

Upon final payment for training, it was suggested Trudy might do better at a bigger facility. TEC is actually a house where the daycare is in the attic.

Fine. I'm not a ridiculous dog owner that thinks my dog can do no wrong. I know she's...what's the word....challenging.

But I can't help but think there are a fair number of alpha dogs out there. Are these dogs just not welcome at doggy daycare? Imagine the sign: "Dog Daycare, 7am-7pm, Submissive Dogs Only." What's a working, dog owning, fence-less couple to do?

Trudy tried out her second facility for a weekend we were in Colorado. Dog Pawz Stay 'n Play in Leawood is a much larger and better smelling facility. However, I was still a little nervous. I know she's a great dog. Most people who meet her think she's great. But we were 0 for 1, so I wasn't overly optimistic.

Fortunately, she fared all right. When I took her back this morning, she trotted right in. No separation anxiety. No peeing on the floor. Most importantly, no call today from Dog Pawz. I've learned no news is good news in dog daycare. I might silence my phone this afternoon, though. No reason to ruin a good thing.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy, happy

I was perusing yoga blogs when I came across this gem. So if you see a crazy lady doing yoga on a mountaintop with a glass of sangria next to her mat, come say hi. I'll appreciate the break.

Things that make me happy:

1) Watching my dog run off-leash.
2) My own lane at the pool.
3) A bat-free night.
4) Mountains.
5) Yoga class.
6) New magazine.
7) Above mentioned sangria.
8) Donuts.
9) Movie previews.
10) Tailwinds.

(I realize doing a list as a blog entry is kind of cheating. But I just don't care.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hello Mountains

Boyfriend and I are four days into our Colorado trek and just like last year are wondering why the hell we live in Kansas City. My exact words were, "If you get any job offer in Colorado, take it." I'd make a fine barista.

After the lovely Tour De Kansas, we stopped in Denver for the night. Then next day we headed to Leadville to watch the Leadville 100 Trail Bike Race. Leadville is not much of a tourist attraction, which is fine. It's an old mining town turned endurance mecca. Fortunately, Boyfriend's aunt is a resident and kindly loaned us her apartment for the weekend. Doubly fortunately her apartment is literally right at the start of the race.

We spent Saturday ogling fine mountain bikes. I'm never sure what I'm looking at, so we have a code: "green" means a bike he'd love to have, "yellow" is a maybe and "red" means his current steed is nicer. I like to simplify things.

My favorite part of the race was watching Rebecca Rusch beat the women's record (she set it last year) by 15 minutes. She is simply amazing and maybe the best female endurance athlete around. (Or at the very least ties with Chrissy Wellington.) Check her out: http://www.rebeccarusch.com/ I took the coolest pic of her crossing the finish line. (You know when you're just an average photographer and then randomly take an amazing pic? Yeah, that's it.) Anyway, I forgot the cord that downloads pics to my computer, so I'll post it later.

Sunday, the Leadville Race Series offers a nice little 10k for those of us who don't even pretend to want to race 100 miles. I knew about the race, but being on vacation did not want to commit to anything. So an hour before the start, I decided to register and kept my fingers crossed the 10,200 foot altitude would not kill me. Ha.

Though a mere six miles, it was the worst kind. An out and back that was all downhill the first three miles. Which means the last three are all up hill. The out portion I'm just trying to take it easy as the realization hits me how awful the second half will be. And it was. But that's okay. Finishers got a handy dandy coffee mug, which I'll actually use. I finished 34/108 women overall, which pleased me, but just missed breaking an hour, which did not.

Unfortunately, I've been permanently dehydrated since arriving in Colorado and the race did not help. The remainder of the day was spent pulling over at various rest stops on the drive to Breckenridge. We arrived to find our condo lovely with a 25 yard lap pool and the yoga studio is two blocks away. I love vacation.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Softride Has Left The Building

Today I bid adieu to my first triathlon bike – a Softride Rocket TT named Sally. (“Ride, Sally, Ride...”) While technically still mine until the ebay auction ends tomorrow, she has been dropped off at the bike store for clean up and packing. We’ll ship her off to the new owner this weekend and that will be the end of my beam bike era.

A Softride is considered old school in the triathlon world and is mocked mercilessly by roadies. Sally has a carbon beam, no down tube and 650 wheels – basically the low-rider Cadillac of bikes. While it doesn’t have a stiff suspension or a brag-worthy weight, it has one thing – comfort. This is something I desperately needed when training for my first Ironman.

Sally raced at Kona in 2001 and Wisconsin in 2003. She was dependable and attention-getting. Like riding a motorcycle, Softride enthusiasts also offered the casual hand wave when you encountered another one on the road. However, there are fewer out there these days. The Softride company went out of business and the focus on comfort has been replaced with obsessions of positioning, speed, and weight.

That’s all fine and good. I, too, succumbed to the lure of a new bike. I love my Felt B2 (named Axl) with a passion. He is a gorgeous, fast, light machine. But I still felt that pull of nostalgia as Boyfriend drove Sally away. A decade ago she was on the Queen K. Now she’s a triathlon relic. I hope her new owner knows he's getting a tiny piece of triathlon history and treats her accordingly.

I tip a bottle of Gatorade to you, Sally. Cheers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Love for Sci-Fi

The furniture has been rearranged; pictures adjusted; trash bags unpacked and closet organized. (My closet; not Boyfriend’s. I’m not allowed to mess with his clothes. Yet.)

Knowing the move would be stressful we rewarded ourselves with cable. We reasoned cable is needed to watch the Tour de France. But really, I was missing Millionaire Matchmaker and House Hunters. What I didn’t account for is the avalanche of sci-fi programming that is on 24/7.

Here’s the thing, boys. Regardless of what a girl indicates when you start dating, she does not enjoy watching science fiction. She may watch it with you, but it is only an effort to impress you. She is really praying it’s a thirty-minute show verses a full hour. This is not unlike when boy first has girl over to his house, apologizing that it’s messy when the truth is, this is the cleanest it’s been in six months. It’s all about first impressions.

As with all broad statements, there are exceptions. But I am speaking for the majority of females when I say that the plot of Battlestar Galactica is not appealing. A good rule of thumb is if the title has the word “star” in it, girls don’t want to watch it. Star Trek, Star Wars, Stargate, Battlestar Galactica – nope, nope, nope and nope.

Because I love Boyfriend, occasionally I will watch part of a sci-fi show with him. This is a gesture of support, which he appreciates. Similarly, he’ll tolerate Property Virgins for ten minutes before leaving the room. However, loving someone does not mean having to love the same TV shows. If he needs me, he knows where to find me – in the bedroom watching Ice Loves Coco.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Post-move Relief

Did you hear the wind blowing through Kansas City on Monday morning? That was actually my sigh of relief. The moving is done. (We laughed. We cried. It was better than Cats.) Actually, it was as bad as moving always seems to be, regardless of the preparation.

Moving is like a false-flat, for any cyclists that read this. You do the heavy lifting, drive, unload, return the truck, drink a beer and breathe a sigh of relief. Then you look around the new digs and realize all the unpacking and furniture placement that must takes place and the relief dissipates.

So let's just chalk it up to a long couple weeks. Moving always makes me nostalgic about the place I'm leaving. I love my house. (As a rental, it's still technically mine.) It was the only real estate I ever owned by myself. It was a little shoebox refuge where I honed my house upkeep capabilities - oftentimes with help - and learned to be okay with being alone.

As my mood turned mopey about leaving Ash Drive, Boyfriend tried to give me a pep talk, which was all good and fine until he compared my house to the giving tree. (It gave me shelter for three years. Now it will hopefully give me income as a rental property. Maybe someday it will be mortgage-free and provide retirement funds.) Except I thought "rental tree" was more appropriate, since there is monetary incentive.

To be clear, I do like my new-to-me house. It's at a great location with lovely neighbors and a darn cute house. There's also a neighbor dog that stops by for snacks, which makes me happy. Best of all, I don't have to schlep stuff back and forth between two locations (workout stuff, work clothes, lunch box) which makes things so much easier. Two home bases are hard to maintain.

We are both anxious to be back in our routines, which for me will be regular training and for him will be mountain biking. The wedding is quickly approaching -- less than two months -- and now that moving is done I can actually try to make some of the decisions I've been avoiding. (Dress, cake, vows, etc.) The relaxation of summer has still not been realized, but I'm holding out hope.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The purge and merge

Here's how the impending move is going. Boyfriend is purging. I am merging. You can see the rub.

I have stuff. Boyfriend has stuff. We have to stuff the stuff under one roof. We are no longer young-ens that move lightly. Our middle age accumulation is evident in the number of moving boxes at my house and the items that must be removed from his house. It's tons of fun.

Remember the wagon wheel coffee table scene from "When Harry Met Sally"? Those conversations are simmering on the horizon. (To be fair, his coffee table is actually fine and will go in our newly rented storage unit.)

Fortunately, Boyfriend realizes he has to make concessions. Many of them will be made this weekend while he's out of town. (Less painful.) It could have been worse. I had a dumpster scheduled to be dropped off in his driveway, but canceled after realizing my inability to lift by myself many of the items that need to go. Lucky man.

So maybe the picture is confusing, but it should be documented I'm purging some things. Like the 35 year old mattress on my guest bed. You read that right - 35 years. The only thing that was holding it and the box spring together was dust mites. To my friends who crashed on that bed, my apologies. But know I did have a liner between the mattress and the sheets, so you should be okay. (I'm talking to you, Amy Place.)

Another great use for a mattress is to document teen crushes on it with nail polish. Look closely and you'll see I hearted Mark at some point. Not sure when. Not even sure who. But he was significant enough to warrant permanent documentation on my mattress. My pre-teen, angst-riddled love, displayed on my curb for all to see. You're welcome, Deffenbaugh guy. You are welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bring on the crazy.

When Boyfriend proposed, the tail end of the conversation was, “By giving you the ring I’m also handing over the stress.” The comment didn’t bother me at the time. Hell, I’d just got engaged to a fantastic guy. This is great. I couldn’t be happier.

Yay me.

Two weeks later and euphoria is gone. Maybe not gone, but buried deep under renting my house, reorganizing his house, moving my stuff, planning a wedding (that’s another story), working, coaching and supposedly studying for the GRE. Right.

I was also supposed to race last weekend, but lack of training and Boyfriend’s comment that the water would cause hypothermia made me decide otherwise. Wimp. I’m not proud. I’ve decided no more races until the move is complete, which should be July 1. Oh, but that’s when we get our new dog. (She’s currently being treated for heartworm, poor thing.)

I’ve created the “Master List” which entails all to be done at both houses, as well as preliminary wedding planning. It’s at three pages now. Single-spaced.

Yay me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My humble abode...

has been rented. It took 24 hours, a Craigslist ad and four photos. I was completely unprepared for the response. Ten people in one day. Everyone that saw it filled out an application. It threw me into a tailspin.

There's something about renting a house that's been your home. I want someone that will care about it the way that I do, which is nearly impossible. I labored over who should be the renter of choice, checking references and verifying employment. It caused much emotional distress. Finally, Boyfriend (now fiance) said, are you expecting the renter to be your new best friend? Um, no. Sheepishly I decided on the girl that responded first to the ad.

So in six weeks, my cute little house will be inhabited by someone else and I'll be merging my things with a man who has been living solo for several decades. There is much purging to be done and not nearly enough time to do it.

And we're planning a reception. Sometime in the fall, hopefully October. And the first race of the season is this weekend. I'm drastically under-trained as other stuff keeps getting in the way. And I'm scheduled to take the GRE in July, which requires studying.

As my dad commented yesterday, "Do you think you have too many irons in the fire?"

Um, yeah.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Otherwise engaged.

Ring criteria:

Mine: simple, classic, not too fancy.

Boyfriend: sturdy, usable to aid in escape if ever trapped inside something made of glass.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Zack, the Smiths and a Gift Card

I’ve lived in my house for three years. Apparently, some guy named Zack has also lived in my house for the past year. Or at least Bill and Annie Smith (not their real names) in Overland Park, Kansas think he lives at my address. They send him a lot of cards – thank you notes, just for fun cards and yesterday, I received Zack’s birthday card.

Obviously for me to know what kind of cards they send, I open them. The first time I received one, I “Returned to Sender,” but not since then. They keep on coming and I keep on opening them. It’s like reality TV, but through the mail.

I’m not proud of my actions and suspect it’s illegal for me to keep opening Zack’s mail. But now I’m genuinely interested in how he’s doing. Zack got a new job last fall (Attaboy card), gave the Smiths Big 12 Tournament tickets (thank you note), and he had a birthday this week.

Until yesterday, there was nothing of value in the cards besides sweet sentiment. But in the birthday card there was a Plaza gift certificate for $50. Hmmmm. I like the Plaza. I like gift certificates. I could head to Anthropology and no one would be the wiser. Or I could put the opened card and GC in a larger envelope, send it back to the Smiths and let them know they have Zack’s address wrong. Except then I’d have to own up to receiving his mail for the last year.

Several people have encouraged me to spend it, with them of course. A bottle of wine and appetizers on me. But I don’t think I can. Not because I’m some sort of morally superior person. (Clearly not, since I’ve been opening his mail.) It’s because Annie has old lady handwriting. So I think of her going to the Plaza to get the card, sending it to Zack and never receiving an acknowledgment from him. That would be sad.

Or maybe it’s the whole karma thing. Sometimes I hate karma.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


My college transcript came in the mail today. My dad doesn't read my blog, so I'll admit it - I did not apply myself in college. Twenty years ago I would have argued that point (and probably did), but at age 38 it is clear - I was an underachieving undergrad.

More appalling than my grades are the classes. It is amazing Drake awarded me a degree at all. Of course, I did pick the school because there was no math requirement for a journalism degree. I'm not kidding.

Some of the classes I received A's in: History of Rock and Roll (taught by a morning DJ who let us go after 45 minutes), Drugs in Society (where I learned what works best for treating hangovers), Deviance (what?) and Intro to Theater (clearly, I missed my calling.)

Classes I earned C's in: Intro to Economics (8 a.m. on MWF is just stupid), Logic and Critical Thinking (I have no recollection of this class), and Intro to Women's Studies (how does that happen when you're a girl?).

My grades also reflected how much fun I had each semester. Fall of my sophomore year yielded a 2.80. That was the semester I dated a bartender. Spring of senior year was my best with a 3.83 (Dean's List - woo hoo), but I was a recluse and ready to graduate.

I certainly could have tried harder. My classes could have been more challenging. Maybe I could have even earned a scholarship. But I didn't. Instead, my well-rounded college experience - and that also refers to the Freshman 15 - included learning important social skills like: a Long Island Ice Tea is not really ice tea, never accept a mat juice shot on your birthday, flannel covers a variety of sins and even if you don't remember ordering Domino's, you still have to pay for it.

I miss college.

(And if anyone finds my use of parenthesis, commas and dashes not punctuationally correct, you know what college to blame.)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Yesterday was my first outside ride of 2011. True cyclists will find that ridiculous, as there has been ample opportunity to get outside before now. Just not for me.

I’m a ideal-weather cyclist. Criteria for riding outside includes: sunny with no chance of rain, winds less than 15 miles per hour, a location of either the downtown airport or country roads and the time of day must be low traffic. That leaves me with approximately eight hours of outdoor riding time per year.

They say cyclists fall into two categories – those who have wrecked and those who are going to. I’ve only had one minor incident, which was hitting a road-closed sign because I wasn’t paying attention. (It’s easy to space out riding 80 miles on a 3.7-mile loop.) Fortunately, the injuries were minor. So that means the big wreck is still looming. This fear leads me to riding indoors on the trainer more often than not.

Boyfriend, who is more cyclist than triathlete, finds this absurd. He does a ride self-named “Urban Attack", which includes high traffic downtown roads. No, thank you.

Anyway, last night was 25 miles in moderate wind. Nothing too difficult, though I was super tired afterwards. I rode harder than I should have being my first time out because I hate being passed on the loop. (Not that I didn’t get passed, I just hate it.) I did spend some time reeling in a dude riding while wearing compression socks and that made me strangely happy. And the two cheese enchiladas post-ride made me even happier.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Grace: What is it and how do I get some?

On my 38th birthday, I listed some goals for the upcoming year. They included easy things like drinking more lattes, getting more massages and wearing a lot of hats. (Literally, not figuratively.) Easy stuff. Setting the bar low, if you will.

One I did not mention is to be a better person. Vague? Yes. Achievable? Hopefully. But defining what exactly I mean proves challenging. Do I want to be nicer? Lots of room to improve there. More patient? Um-hum. Let the people who speed past and then want to cut over at the merge go in front of me? Even I have my limits.

So last night I was rereading a sweet note my childhood minister had sent me. He had known my mom quite well and continues, 20 years later, to still mention her in one of his sermons. He wrote, “Your mother’s kindness and grace has always stayed with me.”

A-ha! That’s what I’m talking about. Grace.

Sadly, the only time someone has referred to me grace-wise was in sarcasm. (As in, “Way to go, grace” when I wipeout.) Though anti-klutz grace is certainly welcome, I’d really like some of the kind, patient, calming grace that seems much more rare.

My mother had grace – an abundance of it. Sadly, my dad’s biting wit and sarcasm must have beaten it up in utero. Snarky comments? Got ‘em. Patience with annoying people? Not so much.

To wrap up this ramble, I’m happy to have actually defined my goal. As with all goals, the defining is easy, the doing is hard. Eight months until 39. I'm not sure that's enough time. Maybe grace should be on the 40 plan.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The "Shoulds"

Like most women, I'm a worrier. The "shoulds" constantly nag at me. I should clean out the basement. I should seal the grout in my kitchen. I should eat less sugar. These little annoyances swirl around me like dirt around Pigpen.

And then one day a switch flips and I actually do it. (Though the flip can be a long time coming.)

I've lived in my house almost three years with my predecessor's bathroom decor choices. Some friends have called it the Fragglerock bathroom, others think it's a Miami Dolphins motif. Naming rights aside, it was bright teal with a lime green and bird covered valence over the shower.

I mocked the bathroom upon first viewing. "Wow," I told my realtor. "That has to be changed immediately."

In my world, immediately means two years, nine months. Last night, I heard angels sing as the valence came down. I patched, sanded and painted. Ta-da! I have a grown-up bathroom. Finally.

Touch up paint is another fun "should." Though it's important to make sure the new trim paint matches the old because there's not good place to stop. (Like all home improvements.) I'll be heading back to Benjamin Moore for attempt number two this weekend.

Is you're wondering about the eating less sugar, that lasted a week and I didn't drop a single pound. So bring on the Peeps.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Just Say No To Marshmallow Hearts

It all started a couple weeks ago at the Hallmark Store. Driven by my chronic need for a "little something sweet", I impulse bought an overpriced chocolate marshmallow heart. ($4 for a little piece of candy! Really, Hallmark? Has the card biz gotten that bad?) Anyway, I sat down with a good book to read while eating it.

Three bites in and there's a noise in my mouth, followed by the feeling I just bit into tin foil. What the hell? It's a marshmallow. There's no sediment in marshmallow. I immediately know something's wrong as both the upper and lower tooth are screaming at me to quit chewing.

Damn. Damn, damn, damn. This cannot be good. The lower tooth is actually a crown and the upper has a filling. (Yes, I do brush my teeth regularly.) If either or both are cracked this is gonna be bad.

So I do what any normal person would do and ignore it. Maybe it will go away on it's own, I hope. If I don't acknowledge it, maybe nothing's really wrong. Except I can't chew on the left side of my mouth. For three weeks. Something's definitely wrong. I begrudgingly make an appointment with my dentist.

Yesterday, the receptionist calls to ask if I want to come in early. I can't. I have a meeting and can't get there until 11:30a.m., my scheduled time. I'm answering emails while talking to her, a rude habit. She's saying something about maybe I'll need a follow-up, blah, blah, blah...see an oral surgeon.

What!?!? Back the truck up. Oral surgeon? Dr. Miller hasn't even looked at my teeth yet and you're throwing oral surgeon around? This is much worse than I thought. I ask if she can get me in immediately, which she accommodates.

I'm sitting in the chair, imagining the worst when the hygienist comes in to take x-rays, which they immediately show on the light board. (So cool, all the modern, medical technology.) I'm trying to discern any cracks or other reasons for alarm, just in care Dr. Miller looks to me for confirmation. Ha.

The good news is, I only messed up the upper tooth, the bottom crown is fine. The bad news is, the bottom crown will soon have a new crown friend to hang out with.

Being the no-nonsense dentist she is, Dr. Miller says, you're already in the chair, so let's go ahead and do it today. Awesome. No time to prepare for the drilling. No Ipod to drown out the horrible drill sound. Fine. May as well get started. Except for the fact the anesthetic isn't really working.

One round of shots and she starts drilling. My hand flies up, which is the code for stop. Hmmm. Maybe I need more. Second shot. Drill. Hand up. Crap. Third and final shot and then we're good. Drill away. At one point, she breaks out the jackhammer drill (my term, not hers) which makes my brain feel like it's hitting my skull.

Impression made. Temporary crown on. Finally. Except now the massive amount of anesthetic makes me appear to have Bell's Palsy and I sound like a drunk. The left corner of my mouth is sliding toward my chin and I've developed a drool. So instead of heading back to work, I decide to work from home the rest of the day.

If you're wondering whether it's possible to update spreadsheets and watch Oprah at the same time, it is.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Double Funk

I'm sitting in my living room chair under a blanket, half surfing the web and half watching mindless television. .001 percent of me is debating some sort of workout. But then I would have to actually get up and move.

February should be renamed Funkuary. The cold, the ridiculous amount of snow and lack of sunlight make getting to the gym at 5:30 a.m. difficult. If I do drag myself out of the warm covers, it seems to be later and later. Friday I didn't finish my workout until 8 a.m., putting me at work by 8:45. Good thing they don't give out tardy passes.

The double funk comes from an entire month off of swimming and yoga. A whole month. That's seven months in Jen-years. The funk was spiraling out of control. I had to do something. I needed a new mindset, damn it.

So I decided to do what I should have done long ago and work on my weaknesses. The last two weeks have included lots of trainer and treadmill time. My legs are sore. I'm groaning a bit upon standing. But I'm hoping this may be a blessing in disguise.

Now I must go make some sort of dessert for a Superbowl party, which is also good motivation to get out of my chair. Some sort of cracker candy with butter, sugar and chocolate. Something that I refer to as fat on fat. Just call me Paula Dean.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day

Besides Christmas vacation, the best thing about working in education is a snow day. It makes it perfectly acceptable to stay in pajamas the entire day. Which I did, with the exception of venturing out to shovel. With a bum arm. I'm stupid. I'm also now under the influence of pain medication.

I'd like to say the day was productive and all sorts of chores were accomplished, but that would be a lie. The highlight was I managed s short workout and did laundry. If you don't have cable, there's not much on during the day, so I relived high school by watching The Cosby Show. It was horrible. But I remember loving it at the time. Mostly, I just coveted Vanessa's wardrobe.

I'm hoping for no snow day tomorrow. Cabin fever is setting in and another day with the Huxtable's would be too much.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Pain Management

This week has been about one thing -- pain management. It really started last Saturday (New Year's Day) when I ended up with a nasty hangover. Boyfriend and I met friends in Lawrence for festivities which began with a shot of whiskey at 7 p.m. That set the expectation for the rest of the night, which I strived valiantly to uphold. The celebration ended with the eating of cheese bread and pizza crust at 3 a.m. (I napped through the actual pizza.)

I'll admit it. I'm an amateur. I kept hearing people mutter "amateur night" about those choosing to ring in 2011. Hell yes, it's amateur night. So these people pride themselves of being professionals? Professional drinkers? Am I the only one who thinks this smacks of alcoholism?No thanks. Amateur is just fine with me even if I end up eating a giant bag of potato chips the next day. (Nothing soothes my hangover like Lay's chips and onion dip.)

Next on the pain management tour was my arm surgery on Monday. I won't elaborate too much, but it hurts far more than I expected. Thank god for pain meds, even though I don't like taking them since they leave me light-headed and walking crooked. When I complained about how this hurt more than it did ten years ago, a friend reminded me I'm a lot older and will heal slower. Thanks.

The other expected disappointment is the inability to workout. Though it coincided well with all the NYR (New Year's Resolutioners) being back at the gym. Gyms should let year-round attendees freeze their membership from Jan. 1-Feb. 15. Six weeks is usually all it takes to clear out good intentions. My goal is to be back in the pool by next Friday (there's a meet the end of this month) and yoga in two weeks. That may be optimistic, but it's the meds talking.