Saturday, August 29, 2009

Me and Mr. B

For as long as I can remember I have always loved super heroes.

Growing up, my little sister and I were tomboys, hanging out with the other kids in the neighborhood. We'd play with their Star Wars action figures, burying them in mud and having battles. Eventually we were given Barbies, the boys were given GI Joe, and somehow we convinced them to play with us. Barbie was taller, but GI Joe was stronger than Ken. It worked.

But we never messed with super heroes.

I remember getting up early on Saturdays, when their were REAL cartoons, to watch Scooby Doo and then the Super Friends. The twins and their monkey, Wonder Woman, Superman, and even Aquaman were always there. Always making things right.

Wonder Woman was also on TV as something other than a cartoon. I loved watching her, but not as much as the old Spiderman TV movies, and the ones made for Captain America as well. Those two were it for me. If the movies came on, no would could move me. These were normal guys, out there making a difference, and they were cute.

Hey, I am a girl!

I still remember those movies. My husband seems to vaguely remember them, but to me that was it. Later on, Batman came on the scene. And who couldn't feel for him? Seriously. And while Michael Keaton and Christian Bale have managed to real nail him on screen, I loved going back to the TV to watch Batman: The Animated Series.

Something you should know: Batman and Superman = DC Comics while Spiderman and Captain America = Marvel Comics. While Marvel will always be my favorite in terms of overall story and characters, I will never ignore Batman. My husband has his own set of issues with Superman, but some other time when I have the energy to describe the actual discussions (yes, plural) we have had will I let you know about it. Suffice to say that Marvel reigns overall supreme here, and mentioning and DC heroes gets weird looks. Meh.

Lucky for me, the husband feels the same. So we currently own all the seasons of Batman: The Animated Series, and it's something we watch each night before bed. Through it all, he has his favorite villains, I am happy to watch Batman get them all, we are in awe that Luke Skywalker is the Joker, and that Harley Quinn puts up with it all.

If there is any doubt about my devotion, this is the lunch box I take to work with me everyday:

Did you notice the cape? Because, I have to tell you, the cape is what does it for me. I cannot help but show it to everyone who has noticed the lunch box. That and the fact that the utility belt's buckle unzips to be a small storage compartment.

Yes, I have issues. Are you new here?

All this is basically to set the foundation for what is currently on the dining room table, awaiting a shelf.

You see, there is a new Batman game. Arkham Asylum. Which, to be honest, I want to try out, but the gaming is normally left to my husband and our roommate. When the game was announced, there was also the announcement of the collector's edition, which was going to be a pretty penny, but then that's the problem with being a collector, right? My husband was excited to learn there was going to be a journal with the notes and profiles on the inmates of Gotham's loony bin. I was drawn in as soon as I read about this:

Yes, that is a Batarang. A 14" Batarang on a display stand. No, that isn't the one here. Mainly because I am too lazy to get the camera. But that is what it looks like.

There has been griping because, to be honest, it's really a badly made, cheap plastic, ugly thing. There could have been more quality there, maybe make it of something other than vacuumed plastic. But I'm not griping because I realize the best part:

It's a Batarang.

And it's mine!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Well, bully for her!

I think I've mentioned before I work in customer service. I have been working in call centers to help with HR, payroll, and other gripes and complaints for over 17 years now.

God I am old.

Every company I have ever worked for has always made it a point to say put the customer first. Have they all followed this mantra of theirs? Honestly, to the best of their abilities. But never have I worked where someone had to escalate issues so high as to gain notoriety of any kind. Not even when it comes to dealing with their medical bills.

Which is why the post I was working on for today has to wait. There will be writing this weekend, mainly to catch up and share on things. But today, if any of you haven't heard the story online somewhere about the problems that my favorite blogger has had with an appliance....well, go read this.

I have read her site from beginning to end, cried over her struggles and laughed at her wonderful humor. I even went to meet her at a book signing when she was in the Bay Area and thanked her for giving me some insight into the mind of my husband.

And today I left my first comment on her site because she really is my hero.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Our Version of Juggling

In between the cleaner diet and exercise, both A and I have made sure to maintain our follow-up visits with various providers. We've managed to arrange things to try and coincide as closely as possible, avoiding the drive back and forth from home to physician as much as possible.

And next Tuesday will be the true test of my planning skills.

We each have 2 appointments that morning. I get to go back to Podiatry and Endocrinology. He returns to Neurology and General Medicine. All on the same day.

Same morning, to be more precise.

I think none of the appointments overlap, so we'll be spending 3 hours in the building, and altogether roughly half that time will be with actual physicians. The rest will be spent waiting for the next person to be seen.

Now I am waiting for confirmation if blood work is needed. Neither of our primary doctors provided us with lab slips, so if we need to do that it will be early tomorrow.

I just keep thinking about having a baby and remind myself this is all going to be past us once we get there.

If we could just get there already.....

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome to Day 10

Before I go any further I need someone to explain something to me.

Why would anyone do a 2 minute "long" run at the end of an exercise/workout program, with no real walking, as a cool down?? EA Active is seriously set on this, and my exercise routine always ends with 1 of these.

Isn't the cool down meant to, oh, I don't know, COOL YOU DOWN?


The Wii Fit program is saying I gained almost 2 lbs in the last 10 days. I wish I could believe that this was due to muscle being built, but considering my size I was hoping to see fat go first.

I think over the next week I will be adding back in the Wii Fit in the evenings. The Step Aerobics on there gets me moving, and I was having good results there. Hopefully adding more exercise will work to my advantage...

According to the tests I took at home, my body never ovulated this month. Which is no big surprise, but it is sad. If my cycle were on track I would be expecting a monthly visitor this Friday. As it is, if something happens I plan to call the OB/GYN and leave a message. That and write a letter demanding a refund from the people who make those damn tests.

I did really hope that I'd find myself pregnant this month. I think I may have even wanted more than I realized as it's apparently affecting my dreams.

Now, women will say that they knew they were pregnant because they started dreaming about babies. Apparently this is a common phenomenon, and of course one that I am bound to mess up again...

Cause I keep dreaming we are getting a puppy.

A beagle to be exact.

Seriously. My issues have issues.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Yay for Rest Days!

Yesterday was day 5, and again with the upper body routine. There was a run at the begin to warm-up, and then a long one at the end to cool down.

Which still makes no senses at all, but whatever.

My thighs have stopped aching. My shoulders have given up. And I have 2 more workouts before a weigh in on the Wii. Monday will officially be day 8, and the last time I weighed myself was last Monday. If I do it daily I think I will go nuts. Everyone talks about the 2lb a day fluctuations, and I just think that would drive me over the edge.

I did set a goal on the Wii Fit to lose 10lbs in 2 months. I came SOOOOO close to my last goal on there, so I want to see if I can make this one.

Today is going to be filled with 1 chick flick (The Time Traveler's Wife), a BBQ, an homage to Huey Lewis and the News, Quentin Tarantino movies, and some fresh fruit pies. We are going to make a standard apple, which we've done several times now, but I've hunted a couple of recipes down for a peach pie and a fresh strawberry pie with a homemade glaze.

This really will be an interesting afternoon.

And yes, I am substituting sugar in all the recipes with Splenda-type stuff. If it works, I may actually share the recipes.....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

What has happened to Wesley Crusher???

Yesterday I took the advice of my husband (which, incidentally, was exactly the same advice my wise cousin left on yesterday's post). There was no blatant exercising to be done, but we did walk. We visited WalMart, 2 different Targets, and Toys R Us. Somewhere in there we stopped and had dinner at Sizzler, and in general took our time.

I love that man.

I honestly came home with the intention to do something, but I had to balance the checkbook first. Which lead to the TV being turned on. And an episode of NCIS distracted me. Then when that ended I decided to turn on Criminal Minds while I finished unwrapping my new toys. (Someday I have to share pics of my desk at work...)

I don't watch Criminal Minds regularly. I think I have sat through 4 episodes total, and the only thing I could tell you is that Mandy Patinkin looks so much older without long hair and a moustache. He was meant to battle pirates with a sword....

I digress.

The show was on for what we call "background" noise as we do other things. Big waste of electricity, I know, but we both work better that way.

Suddenly they get to the part where you see the evil psychopath's face and I literally gasped out loud. Causing A to turn around, and me to point at the screen, yelling, "Isn't that Wesley Crusher??"

And it was.

Wesley Crusher (otherwise known as Gordie Lachance or Wil Wheaton for those of you stuck in reality)was there, smirking evilly. Later in the show he would actually sneer while saying something to the poor bound woman about "being with a real man."

I couldn't stop giggling.

For all his attempts, Wesley Crusher will always be Wesley Crusher no matter what role. And hearing him say that just made my sides hurt.

Which was a great distraction from my aching thighs.

Again, digressing.....

I understand actors wanting to be seen for something other than the role that defined them to most people, but this wasn't working. He just doesn't look menacing.

Poor Wesley Crusher....

On the upside, all that relaxing and giggling kept me from doing anything, and today I can sit. And stand. And walk. All without wanting to cry!

Now ask me about lifting things. Dare you!

Turns out the next portion of The Challenge is upper arm strength. Of which I have less than I thought. A lot less according to my biceps.

Tomorrow will promise more of the same, and then Saturday is a rest day.

I have never looked forward to a Saturday so much in my life.....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Are your thighs supposed to hurt when you go to SIT DOWN?

Day 2 of The Challenge was yesterday, and I made a colossal blunder:

The first day I started this little program it was after work, and the entire thing was over by 6:30.

I decided right then and there that this would be better to do in the mornings. Then I could shower and hopefully feel more vitalized for work.

The mistake was in thinking I wouldn't be paying for 2 workouts in a 13 hour period for days to come.

Seriously. Sitting down hurts. Walking feels weird. If you didn't know better you would think I was geriatric. That or that I have been riding broncos professionally for the last 2 years. Who in the world put this together as the beginner/easy level for a workout program?


Today is my "rest" day. Which means no exercise, but I still have to load the game and complete the daily journal to get credit for the day. In all, there are 20 workout days and 10 rest days that will be alternating like this.

I'm afraid that if I don't do something today, though, that it will be worse tomorrow. So I am taking A out to run errands, and then plan to hit the Wii Fit for some light Step Aerobics. That will get the blood circulating, and has never caused me this much pain in the past.

To recap today's lesson:

Space your exercise routines out to allow for recovery time. Especially when your routing involves squats, lunges, inline skating, and running.

Also, allow extra time for potty breaks. Have I mentioned it physically hurts to SIT???

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It made me RUN!

So, last month I decided to change up the exercise routine.

The result was purchasing EA Active for the Wii. I opened the box, reviewed the information, and decided that the 30 day challenge would be a good way to go. Not only does it provide you varying exercises over a 20 minutes period each day, but it also includes rest days so that you don’t overdo things.

Originally the plan was to begin on August 3rd. That would have made Day 30 fall on September 1st, which for my mild case of OCD was perfect timing.

Last night, exactly 1 week late, I began the 30 Day Challenge.

It made me run.

Take a moment. Realize that I am approximately 290 lbs, and haven’t run since grade school. Even in high school, when we were required to complete running weekly of a minimum of 1 mile, I walked. It took exactly 20 minutes, and guaranteed I was meeting the bare minimum.

But I never ran. Never. Ever. EVER.

Yesterday the program began with a “slow” run. That lasted roughly 1 minute. And forced you to keep a running pace thanks to the strap that hold the Wii nunchuck firmly to your thigh.

Several lunges, squats, some inline skating, and arm curls later it asked you to run again. This time for roughly 1 ½ minutes, still at the same pace.

Once all the other exercises were done, it’s “cool off” was another run. This time a long run. That lasted 2 minutes.

The positive side is that the total workout was just under 20 minutes, and I burned more calories than the system expected based on the effort I put out.

The negative is that I hurt. And I sweated more than I have ever in an exercise routine before.

But that’s supposed to be a good thing too, right?


Monday, August 10, 2009

The Waiting Game

Last month I was surprised when something that shouldn't happen did happen with no medical intervention.

I won't lie. I immediately consulted every reference I have bookmarked on 3 separate computers in the hope of calculating my ovulation cycle. The average is about 2 weeks from the first day of your period, so I decided that I would begin using ovulation tests again to see if it happens.

Which, looking at the calendar, if it happened on time would have been our 1st wedding anniversary.

Quite poetic, no?

Well, here I am. Day 17. I have used 16 sticks so far and nothing. Nada. Zilch.

I told myself that this may be a complete fluke, that it was quite possible that no cycle could happen again for 2 months, 6 months, a year even. But that doesn't stop the wanting of a baby right now. Someone small that will be the perfect combination of myself and A, who we can raise together and grow old watching become an adult.

Yes, the doctor will help us do that. But would it be so horrible if a little miracle happened now, all on its own, just for us?


Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go pee on a stick.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Proof Animals Think

Our house has a rather well-sized kitchen that opens on to the dining room on one end and the hallway/living room on the other. The wall that houses the refrigerator, stove, and pantry is one side of the wall our TV rests against in the living room.

Over the 2 year we have lived here, visitors have come with children from as young as 2 and now as old as almost 16. The little ones catch on immediately to the fact that they may run laps around this one wall, with no real obstacle, either chasing a parent or another child, or being chased by someone in return.

I have several stories about the entertainment this provides, but today's tale is about the cat.

Now, A has, in the past, played cat and mouse games with our pets, using this kitchen as a place to hide. I have seen the cats chase him around, or stop to only be surprised when comes up behind him.

On the flip side, when it's bedtime this can be a pain because we wind up chasing their tails (and often our own) in an attempt to corral them into the bedroom.

Shadow is an easily entertained feline. His current toys consist of an old black mitten of mine, a stuffed goldfish that used to hang above a jungle gym we bought him and is all that remains of the toy, and a box.

Yes, a box. We had something delivered 2 weeks ago, and the box it came is just barely big enough for him to sit in it. He jumps in it, A loves to throw his other toys in it, and then he will fight with them and do this special dance that I believe is rather interesting. I really think he would be an amazing interpretative dancer, and my have been in a past life.

Earlier today, A carried our basket of clean laundry to our bedroom, and I was sitting and watching Shadow and his box. At some point he managed to get it up on one end, with the still sealed portion at an angle to me. He was sitting inside the box, his back to me, with his toys at his feet.

Nothing else was happening. He was just sitting, in what I believe was a position he felt was hiding him from the world. His brother crept around, was promptly bopped on the head, and he continued to sit.

I could hear A coming down the hallway, and I quickly told him to slow down and just look into the living room. When he saw the cat, sitting there and looking at him, he had to laugh. And immediately went in to play mode.

He called Shadow's name and then ducked behind the wall, into the kitchen, where he couldn't be seen by either of us. He poked his head out and called him again, and this time Shadow paid attention.

As A ducked back again, Shadow made a little noise, took one step out of his box towards the opening, and then promptly ran in the opposite direction towards the dining.

When A reappeared I was laughing and saying the cat was trying to sneak up on him. He quickly turned back in to the kitchen to greet the cat, who was running up behind him to play.

Anyone who tells you that animals aren't thinking needs to meet my cat. And I need to find a way to videotape this behavior and post it!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Has it really been a year?

Today is our 1st wedding anniversary. I can’t believe the year has gone so quickly. We are still working on starting our own family, but at the same time this little hurdle has brought us closer together, something I never thought would be possible.

So, in honor of the date I am posting the ceremony my cousin both wrote and performed for our ceremony as minister. Even today it makes me cry as I remember that day and the overwhelming love I felt not only for my now husband but also for all the family and friends that helped make this day perfect.

I hope everyone else enjoys the read as much as I do….

Greetings Friends and Family. I would like to begin this afternoon with a story.

Once upon a time – in a galaxy far far away, of course – there was a beautiful princess and a very tall handsome prince. They both also happened to be gamers, and lived in two kingdoms separated by almost an entire nation. They had friends and family, but they hadn’t yet met that someone to complete them. Then one night it happened. By some twist of fate, he joined her guild. There was a lot of teasing and flirting, followed by the non-stop phone calls. And I do mean non-stop.

Thanks to the time difference between the kingdom of Roanoke, and the kingdom of Santa Clara, the princess could call at 5:00 am her time and still be on the phone with the prince at 10:00 pm when they were crawling into their respective beds. People were starting to worry…but they were happy. The prince ventured to the kingdom of Santa Clara, met the princess, went back to Roanoke with stories of her kindness and beauty, then returned to her arms – never to look back. Which brings us to today…

Sharon and Andrew, today you celebrate one of life’s greatest moments and give recognition to the worth and beauty of love as you join together in the vows of marriage.

Andrew – do you take Sharon to be your wife? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect her; forsaking all others and holding only unto her, even through weekend marathons of ‘Sex and the City’ with her sister and friends, when she beats you in Star Wars Trivial Pursuit and though she may sometimes seem like she’s joining the dark side?

Sharon – do you take Andrew to be your husband? Do you promise to love, honor, cherish and protect him; forsaking all others (even Jack Sparrow) and holding only unto him even through weekends of World of Warcraft honor runs and hunts with his best friend and guild mates, and even when it seems he might be transforming into a Decepticon?

Now Sharon and Andrew – Do you both promise to cooperate more on Lego Star Wars and try not to get frustrated with one another when he wants to move on and she wants to collect all the little Lego pieces left behind?

From the earliest times, the circle has been a symbol of completeness – a symbol of committed love. An unbroken and never-ending circle symbolizes a commitment of love that is also never-ending. As often as either of you looks at this symbol, I hope that you will be reminded of the commitment to love each other which you are making today.

Andrew – please place this ring on Sharon’s finger and repeat after me: I Andrew, take thee Sharon, to be my wife. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and I promise my love to you, until death do us part.

Sharon – please place this ring on Andrew’s finger and repeat after me: I Sharon, take thee Andrew, to be my husband. To have and to hold, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, and I promise my love to you, until death do us part.

Your gift to each other for your wedding today has been your wedding rings – which shall always be an outward demonstration of your vows of love and respect; and a public showing of your commitment to each other. You now have what remains the most honorable title which may exist between a man and a woman – the title of “husband” and “wife.” For your first gift as husband and wife, that gift will be a single rose. In the past, the rose was considered a symbol of love and a single rose always meant only one thing – it meant the words “I love you.” So it is appropriate that for your first gift as husband and wife – that gift would be a single rose.

Please exchange your first gift as husband and wife.

In some ways it seems like you have not done anything at all. Just a moment ago you were holding one small rose, and now you are holding one small rose. In some ways, a marriage ceremony is like this. In some ways, tomorrow is going to seem no different than yesterday. But in fact today, just now, you both have given and received one of the most valuable and precious gifts of life – one I hope you always remember – the gift of true and abiding love within the devotion of marriage.

Sharon and Andrew, I would ask that wherever you make your home in the future – whether it be a large and elegant home, or a small and graceful one, that you both pick one very special location for roses; so that on each anniversary of this truly wonderful occasion you both may take a rose to that spot both as a recommitment to your marriage – and a recommitment that THIS will be a marriage based upon love. In every marriage there are times where it is difficult to find the right words. It is easiest to hurt who we most love. It is easiest to be most hurt by who we most love. It might be difficult sometimes to say the words, “I am sorry” or “I forgive you;” “I need you” or “I am hurting.” If this should happen, if you simply can not find these words, leave a rose at that spot which both of you have selected – for that rose then says what matters most of all and should overpower all other things and all other words.

That rose says the words; “I still love you.”

The other should accept this rose for the words which can not be found, and remember the love and hope that you both share today.

Sharon and Andrew, if there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, it is that it was love that brought you here today, it is only love which can make it a glorious union, and it is by love which your marriage shall endure. Just as two very different threads woven in opposite directions can form a beautiful poncho, so can your two lives merge together to form a very beautiful marriage. To make your marriage work will take love. Love should be the core of your marriage – love is the reason you are here. But it will also take trust to know in your hearts you want what’s best for each other. It will take dedication to stay open to one another – to learn and to grow together even when this is not always easy to do. It will take faith to always be willing to go forward tomorrow – never really knowing what tomorrow will bring, and it will take commitment to hold true to the journey you both now pledge to share together.

And so, by the power vested in me by the state of California, I now pronounce you man and wife. Andrew – you may kiss your princess.

Friday, August 7, 2009

And a Real Stay-Cation

Nine days after returning from Seattle we received a visit from my cousin.

A little background:

My mother is the middle child in her family. Her oldest sister is the only aunt I have living in this country. She has two children, the oldest being only a few years younger than I.

Now, growing up we were never that close. They live in IN and we are in CA. Even when we did the family visits they were filled with tourist visits to places that were interesting but tiring to kids, and so you can imagine there wasn't a lot of time spent playing or writing.

Our mothers were never super close. They spoke regularly, exchanged pictures, and were good about remembering birthdays and anniversaries. So my communications with my cousins was seeing their signatures improve on birthday cards they were told to sign each year. I believe the same was from their end.

In August of 1999, out of need to get out and see the country while I could, I took 2 weeks from work and proceeded to drive across the US. I was 25 at the time, and took my then 14 year-old brother with me. We ended up in IN, and rather than continue on to bigger cities decided to stay with family there.

Best. Decision. EVER.

My cousin was now 21, had been in college, and amazingly had a lot of the same interests as I did. We sat up a couple of nights, talking and listening to music, and our relationship changed. We weren't just cousins, we were friends.

Since then we've managed to keep in touch thanks to email, Yahoo IM, and the rare phone call. When I became engaged last year she was literally the 3rd person I told. I woke her in the middle of the night, but I called to tell her it had happened.

My wedding was less than conventional, and for me it was more about having family and friends there to celebrate than anything else. So when my cousin offered to officiate I was ecstatic. She obtained a license with a CA based church online and took care of everything.

Almost a year after her visit to perform the ceremony she was coming back to take a vacation, and bringing her boyfriend with her. They spent 6 days with us, watching movies, playing games, and seeing the sites. We visited the Winchester Mystery House, San Francisco, and Big Basin. In-between this we caught up with some good movies, some that were a little much for the short time we had together (Sorry about Watchmen!), and introduced them both to the addiction that is Peggle.

The entire visit went too fast, and I am missing her laugh and morning hugs. I honestly think I could live with her and my best friend in a big house with lots of dogs and cats, provided I could bring A along with me.

We've both agreed that my move to VA next year will be the closest that we have ever lived to one another ever. She is working on getting in to a vet school that will literally be a day drive, and I've promised her a place to go for holidays and breaks, and extended the invitation to her her pit bull and the boyfriend as well.

For now, we have a ton of pictures where everyone is smiling, looked relaxed and happy. I really cannot wait for that chance to do it again, whether here or somewhere else that is new to us both.....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Real Vacation Time

In the almost 4 years we have lived together, A and I have never been on vacation.

The first 2 years we lived alone in a 1 bedroom apartment. If we wanted to be alone we could be.

The last 2 years we have had a roommate, so when we wanted to be alone we went to a hotel. We spaced out our trips so they felt like breaks from everything else, and it gave is 24-48 hours of being together without interruption. The hotel was maybe 10 miles from home, but it felt far enough to make a difference.

We have traveled, but it was back to Virginia to see family. Yes, there was the touristy sight-seeing involved, but not alone. It was good to get away, but at the same time there was still the additional pressure of meeting them for the first time and trying to cram things in to the 4-5 days we were in state.

Definitely didn't feel like vacation.

Last August, my best friend was my Maid of Honor and also baked the cakes and cupcakes for our wedding. Everything was done from scratch, including the cake topper she made. Seriously. Look at this:

Along with the yumminess we were also given a card where she told us her present to us was also to fly us to see her in her new house up near Seattle.

And that's where we spent our first real vacation last month.

If we could afford to buy a home there I think A would have jumped at it. We spent a day with her and her amazing daughters at the zoo. Even with 90 degree weather it was a great day, and we had so much fun. Then dinner outside on her back deck every evening, a day of reading in the sun (of course I burned) and just relaxing. We even managed to catch Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and also rent and watch movies at home.

It was just amazing to unwind so much in just a few short days. There was no stress, no rush, no schedule. Just being able to sit, reading or playing video games, and just talking about different things. And then there was her amazing cooking....

This is what vacation is supposed to be like.