Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Life In the New House

Life has been...


Let me explain.

We closed on the house last Thursday and finally moved stuff in on Saturday.  Sunday I woke up sick. :P  Any attempts at unpacking on Sunday or Monday were thwarted by my pounding head and my attatchment to the tissues.

Today I'm feeling slightly better.  While my nose is now raw, it's running less, and I can at least feign wellness.  However, for those of you who haven't heard, I took a second job.  Hans and I have never owned a home, so we were'nt quite sure what to expect in the way of bills.  Anyway, I decided to take on a part-time job just to be safe.  It's fun, and I only work 12-18 hours a week so it doesn't really affect the business too much.  It does, however, affect the amount of time I have.  Plus, since I'm in training and it's the end of the month, I'm working a little more this week.  Which means, of course, that unpacking has waited even longer due to work.

Anyway, I'm not complaining.  I'm happy to have the house.  I just have a lot to do before it's company-ready.  The dogs, however, L-O-V-E it.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen Merlin so tired, and Cody really seems to be relaxing.  The overall atmosphere is one of happiness.  Plus, I was telling Hans this morning that I'm thrilled to actually have rooms...multiple rooms.  In the apartment, the livingroom, dining room, and kitchen were really one, big room.  Now, everything has it's own, separate room.  HURRAY!

So, I'll leave you with another anecdote.  Today, I got a call from the alarm company (just installed yesterday).  They had gotten an alarm that the back door was open.  I was on my way to an appointment, so they sent the police out.  I wasn't too concerned.  I knew that leaving the house had been a crazy period, and I figured I'd forgotten to lock the back door and Cody had gotten out.  However, when the police arrived, they called and said a side window was open as well.  OH NO!  I knew the windows shouldn't be open.  I called Hans and he was able to meet the officer.  Apparently, it was nothing.  The wind/Cody had opened the door, and the window wasn't actually was just the stom window playing tricks.  So, everything was fine and I felt a bit like a fool.  The officer, however, did get to meet Cody.  Before Hans got there, the officer was walking around the property and looking through windows and doors.  Apparently, Cody is a great theft deterrent (according to the officer).  I have slobber smudges on the windows from where Cody tried to bite through them.  Good boy!

Sunday, March 28, 2010


I know I haven't posted anything at all this past week, but I think I have a good excuse.  We FINALLY closed on our first home.  And, yes, that's a picture of it above.

After packing and fighting colds and weather all week, Hans and I finally decided to hire movers.  Yesterday they moved the majority of our stuff (minus a few odds and ends from the closet) to our house.  We packed up Cody, Merlin, Stultae, and Mo and drove out to the house.  By the time we got here (and cleaned up the cats who had gotten sick in the car) it was pushing 2 a.m. and we were beat.  Straight to bed we went!

Then, when I awoke this morning, I went downstairs and let Cody out into our backyard.  Merlin was already there because Hans had let him out earlier.  I watched the two of them run and play and frollick for a bit and then, guess what...I went back to bed!  I knew I'd enjoy having a yard.  To be honest, I'm not the only one who loves the yard.  While Cody enjoys it, he really just wants to be with us.  Merlin, however, LOOOOVES it.  We've found that he's so much more relaxed and mellow.  He enjoys chasing the squirrels in the trees and he has fun playing with Cody when they're together.  Maybe that's what he needed all along.

I'm also impressed at how quiet the street is at night.  I expected to hear more traffic noise and maybe a few people since we're now in the city.  Instead, the house and the area are quiet with the exception of dogs barking in the neighborhood (which, let's face it, is more of a lullabye to me).  Once we're done unpacking and cleaning, I honestly think this house will be perfect for us.

Let me leave you with our first new-home funny story.  Today we had a couple of friends stop bye to see the house.  The dogs were outside.  Apparently, the back door wasn't shut that well because it didn't take long for the dogs to push the door open and come inside.  Cody came and greeted people as did Merlin.  Merlin, however, didn't stop there.  After greeting people he decided to run through the living room and out the front door.  The front door was open...except for the storm door.  CRASH!  Merlin ran head first, full speed into the front door.  Don't worry.  He was fine.  He just took a moment to gather himself and then looked at me with a big, goofy grin on his face.  I, however, was doubled over in laughter.  What a silly pup!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

7 Things I Should Be Doing

- Unpacking many many boxes

-Painting walls

-Baking in my new kitchen.

-Watching the dogs in the back yard.

-Buying groceries to stock the new fridge.

-Inviting friends over for a cookout.

-Enjoying cook out foods (like brats).

Why am I not doing any of these things?  We have not yet closed on the house.  Apparently, documents are stuck in underwriting.  This is frustrating to say the least.  Oh well, maybe next week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Why Do Catholics Eat Fish On Fridays?

So, it's Lent again (has been for a few weeks), and it's a Friday, which means I will invariably be asked this question by at least 1 person today:  Why can't you have meat?  I'm tired of answering so often, so here's the answer.

Short and simple: Tradition.  Do I really think I'll burn in Hell if I have meat today?  Absolutely not.  Have I ever eaten meat on a Friday during Lent?  Of course.  Still, though, it's tradition and I like it.  Ok, so you're now probably wondering how that tradition got started.   Believe it or not, it started with the Jews. 

Once upon a time, in a far away land, Jews fasted every Monday and Thursday.  Fasting here does not mean to completely deprive yourself of food, but rather to control your desires, your stomach, and your whims.  It is meant to awaken your sense of spirituality  and encourage you to pray. 

Anyway, meat in those days was very expensive.  Not just anyone ate meat.  Meat was one of those items that either had to be bought in the market or one had to own enough land to raise cattle.  Fish and veggies, however, that was easy stuff.  Anyone could grow veggies and anyone could take a pole and catch a fish.  So, when Jews fasted, they eliminated the expensive stuff and stuck with the items that were available to all.

Christianity changed this fast from Monday and Thursday to Wednesday and Friday because Jesus was betrayed on Wednesday and crucified on Friday.  Wednesday, for some reason, has been forgotten, but Friday still remains.  During Lent, us Catholics are actually supposed to abstain for the whole 40 days (minus Sundays), and the Wednesday / Friday rule is supposed to be followed the entire year.  What can I say?  We've gotten lazy.

Sure, the whole thing might not make sense now a days.  If we were to really analyze the situation, it would probably be deemed that chicken is the best thing (at least in America) because chicken's super cheap.  However, like I said, it's tradition.  Besides, since Hans doesn't so much care for fish, it's a great excuse for me to eat it anyway.

Now that's explained, I would really appreciate it if you all could just respect that.  It's the same as me respecting your family's Christmas traditions.  Please don't plan a dinner that I won't be able to eat at, or at the very least, allow me to bring something I can eat without becoming offended.  I don't hate your cooking (ok, I might), I just don't want to break my tradition.  If you're really close to me, please try to remember.  I'm not forcing you to eat fish (or abstain from meat).  I'm just asking that you don't shove it in my face.

Lastly, thanks to Wendy's, McDonald's, and Arby's (and maybe Burger King.  I haven't checked their menu).  During Lent, you mega-chains actually offer a fish sandwich.  It may not be healthy, but it's fast and it tastes good.  It's perfect when I'm on the run and need a really quick bite to eat.  Thank you! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Outlet

Let me begin by saying this blog will be one long, rambling post.  I have a lot to get out there and it's a bit jumbled.  Bear with me.

Last week Hans found out that one of our friends and coworkers has cancer.  While that means that a lot of my attention is now being turned to her, I'm shocked to find that it's also causing me to focus more attention on myself.  So, even though she has cancer and that's all about her, I've decided the best way for me to vent and reflect might be to use this blog.

You see, I could go into all the details, but that's not my story to tell.  All I can tell is how I'm feeling now, how I felt at hearing the news news.  The first thing I'm feeling is guilt for trying to make this about me.  It's not about me...or is it?  Cancer doesn't just affect the one person who has it.  If that were the case, there wouldn't be so many fundraisers or support groups.  Yet still, I feel guilty for even thinking I might be able to relate to what she's going through or even try to begin to understand what she's feeling.  She's crying over losing her hair, I'm crying because I can't imagine what being in that position would be like.  She's trying to regain and maintain some control over her life, I'm trying to figure out what I can do to help and still maintain my sanity.

Now, I'm sitting here wondering what should I do.  What CAN I do?   I don't want to be too pushy, but I also don't want to leave her to do everything and wondering if she can ask for help.  The talks that she and I have had recently have really helped, and I'm trying to teach myself to be patient.  I guess what I'm really wondering is: Is it alright for me to turn to the cancer patient for guidance?  Is it right for me to say, "I know what you're going through is hell, but I'm lost.  Help!"  What kind of support system is that?  How can I help if I'm only saying, "hold my hand"?

Maybe that's why I'm writing this post.  Honestly, I'm not quite sure.  I know I need another way to vent than to just talk to Hans or B.  I know I'm not entirely comfortable broaching the topic with Hans' coworkers for fear of sounding like a gossip.  I'd love advice.  I'd love for someone to want to talk to me, even if the conversation is just both of us saying that we have no f**king clue what to do.  Do two clueless people come together to form one partially clued-in person?

First of all, thank you to B for being so understanding of Hans telling me, but even more importantly thank you for tolerating all my questions so far.  I'm trying to research as much as I can, but I still need you to tell me what you like and what you want (what you really really want).  Thank you to anyone reading / understanding what I'm trying to say in this blog.  I know this whole post has been a rambling mess.  I just needed an outlet.  I needed to express how I felt and get it off my chest.  Thank you for listening.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


My sister-in-law, Lunargoat, recently wrote a post about being big.  In it, she asked if being fat was anything like being an alcoholic.  Basically, do you still consider yourself fat after you've lost the weight (much like an alcoholic is still considered an alcoholic after she stops drinking)?  I thought this was a good enough question to mention on here.  It really made me think.

Those of you who've known me for a while also know that I've lost some weight in the past few years.  For those of you who don't know me, let me go over my history. 

In high school I was simply the pudgy kid.  I wouldn't call myself fat, but I also wouldn't say I was happy with my weight.  I was larger than the majority of my classmates, but only by a little.  I suppose if you're looking at BMI I'd be considered overweight but not obese (see picture to the left.  I'm on the right).

As it does for most people, all that changed in college.  I sometimes wonder what would have happened if I'd gone to school in a warmer climate.  Would I have been more active?  Would I have lost weight instead of gaining?  Who knows?  The fact of the matter is that I didn't lose weight.  I did gain weight...a lot of it (well, more than your freshmen 15 anyway).  I knew I was gaining weight because my close were tighter (some not fitting at all), but I refused to really acknowledge it.  I didn't have a scale, so I could tell myself my clothes had just shrunk in the wash.  I'll never forget the day I did look at a scale and saw the number 2 as the first digit.  I was over 200 pounds?!  I couldn't believe it.  Things had to change, but I had no idea what to do.

It would take 2.5 more years before weight really started to come off.  One summer (I was always happiest during the summers) I got off my over-sized butt and started heading toward the gym.  I knew I wouldn't do it in the evenings because I was tired and didn't want too many people seeing me sweat, so I went at 5:00 am.  One blogger I know calls this the vampire exercise routine.  Combine that with a college-student diet (the one where you can't afford food) and the weight just kind of melted away.  I'm not quite at my goal weight, but I am holding steady at a healthy weight (between 150 and 160 depending on the week).  Yes, I could do more to lose weight. 

I need to start exercising again, and my diet could be a little better.  However, that's not the point of this blog.  The main point in this blog is to discuss how I view myself.  Mentally, I know I'm at a healthy weight, and plenty of friends have told me how great I look.  Heck, I've even had a few guys pay some extra attention to me on the street (something Hans just hates).  The thing is, I don't see myself that way.  Whenever I look in the mirror, I don't see the new figure I have or the added muscle.  Sure, I did at first, but now all I see is all the weight I have left to lose.  I see dimply thighs or flabby arms.  I find this ironic, because I still laugh when I see job descriptions that say you must be able to lift 50 lbs.  Fifty is easy!  I do that every day with Cody!

Now I wonder, will I ever see myself as thin or strong or attractive?  Maybe even once I hit my goal weight I'll just whine about how I still don't look great.  You know, the weight is right, but ears are fat or something.  I'm dreading the day that I say, "Does my right leg look larger than my left?" and not be talking about swelling from a dog bite.  Doesn't Dove offer some sort of healthy women course?  Maybe I should take that the next time they come around.  Otherwise, I'm pretty sure I'll always view myself as fat.

One quick note: While I may always view myself as fat, I'll never lament over my love of food.  I've found that I can enjoy extremely tasty, and not-so-great for you foods and still lose weight.  The key is moderation.  While I MIGHT be a fataholic, I'm DEFINITELY a foodaholic, and I'm proud of it.  It's important to not get the two confused.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New House

In my effort to blog a little more, I'm noticing that I'm starting to blog about any and everything.  If you get sick of my ramblings, feel free to say so (or keep your mouth shut and stop reading).  Otherwise, here's my latest update:

WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A HOUSE!  If you follow me on Facebook, you will have just found out yesterday that Hans and I are officially moving on the 17th.  Yes, I know we were originally supposed to move on the 26th of February, but a paperwork snafu held us up.  Now we're gearing up and getting ready to go.

So, what does this mean?  It means that Hans and I are busy packing, something we'd put off since we found out we wouldn't be closing on time.

It means that Cody and Merlin will officially have a yard.

It means that I will have an office that its ACTUALLY and office and not an office / music room / storage room, etc.  We will also have a garage for tools and dog equipment.

It means that I may actually be able to invest in some basic agility equipment.  If I can get my hands on a small travel set, I may even be able to offer in-home agility training.  This, of course, is something Cody would absolutely love.  Eventually, I'd like to offer a more advanced agility with the a-frame and dog walk and teeter, but at this point I'd be perfectly content with a few jumps, a tunnel, and weave poles.  Oh, and a tire jump would be great too.

It means that Hans and I will have a basement and an attic for extra storage.

It means we'll have two spare bedrooms, and should we for some reason need extra cash we can always rent one out.

It means Hans will be closer to his work (only 10 minutes away), and we'll both be closer to friends and co-workers.

Alright, so I know I'm focusing on all the positives, and I'm sure there will be a few headaches.  I'm praying we don't have another winter like this for awhile because I don't want to have to worry about shoveling the walks.  That said, at least I wouldn't also have to worry about the dogs paws becoming irritated from the copious amounts of salt that the apartment complex puts down.  For the time being, we'll also have to borrow a lawn mower and ladder should we ever care to cut the grass on clean the gutters.  Also, cleaning the gutters will be more of a headache than it was at dad's.  Dad has a leaf blower and will just walk around on his roof and blow out the gutters (very easy).  We, however, have a slate roof (SLATE!!!) and walking around up there probably isn't the best idea.  Luckily, I've had plenty experience moving a ladder around a house from before Dad bought the leaf blower.  Really, though, from my current point of view, the positives far out weigh the negatives.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jillian Michaels Kicked My Butt

I love to work out.  Let me clarify that.  I love to work out, but it's sometimes hard to get me started.  Yes,  I sometimes forget how much I love working out.  Consequently, I'll go through phases where I don't work out at all.  Therefore, when I do start working out again, I need something that will really push me and keep me motivated.  Sorry Richard Simmons.  You just don't do it for me! 

Of course, I always go back to running.  It's very meditative for me.  However, I also needed something for strength training.  Running everyday isn't so great for me, plus it doesn't add the muscle I so desperately need.  So, after reading a few reviews, I decided to try Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones.  Boy oh boy does that do it.


What do I like about it?  Everything!  Oh, you want something more specific?  I see.  Well, it's a fantastic work out.  The reviews said this was a great workout for beginners, but I'd disagree.  Granted, I am a beginner (kind of), but I do think there are some people that would find this DVD to be too difficult.  But that's where this DVD is really awesome.  You don't have to do the whole thing!  Jillian's really big on circuit training and her DVD reflects this.  You can do the whole DVD for 40 minutes, or you can choose just a few options to focus on one or two particular areas.  Right now, I can make through just over half of the DVD before my body starts to scream.  I'm working my way up.
Anyway, if you have a way of getting you hands on this, I recommend trying it.  By the way, mine's on loan from Netflix, so don't let lack of money stop you.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Before I really get into this blog, I must ask that you read the article in the link below.

Hate Group Meets Counter-Protesters

Have you read it yet?  Yes?  Great!  Now I can get started.

As you just read, there were quite a few counter-protesters protesting against hate in the City of Richmond today.  It is not, however, the fact that they were protesting that makes me so happy, but rather the way in which they did it.  To often we fight hate with hate.  The thing I hear often in VA refers to reverse-racism.  You know, we're fighting so much against one thing that we kind of lose the message.  I don't really want to get into a racism debate here, but I did want to use it as a small example.

The people protesting today could have yelled, cursed, thrown things, etc.  However, not only would it not have proved anything to the "haters" it also would have created more resentment, more hatred.  Instead of causing more trouble, the counter-protesters decided to show themselves as a unified front.  They were silent.  The message for the day was to not hate the protesters for that would only spread negative feelings, but rather to show love for the people these protesters were hating (side bar: I hope you're not too confused.  There were a few protestations today.).  At the Holocaust Museum, the protesters were invited inside.  At VCU, the counter-protesters talked of love and acceptance.  At the JCC they were silent.

Imagine, 300-400 people all coming out to show how much they love one another.  Isn't it beautiful?  I don't mean to get too corny, but this can't be helped.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Monday, March 1, 2010

Updates and What I've Realized

So, over the past month I've realized something very important about myself.  When under extreme stress, my brain seems to shut down, and I live very much in the moment.  This is both a very good thing and a very bad thing.  It's great because my own body is limiting my stress.  If I start thinking too far into the future about all the things that need to be done, I'll surely explode.  However, if I only think about what has to happen right now, I'll be fine.  The problem is, this sometimes creates more stress, especially if paperwork is involved.  It also prevents me from writing blog posts, because my brain can't seem to function enough to have actual ideas.  Hence why my recent posts have merely been about what's happening and not full of questions or ideas.  It's not that I don't want to share.  It's actually that the only things on my mind are recent events.  Who has time for extra thinking?

Now, while still under extreme amounts of stress, I've done almost everything that I had to do.  Now I just have to wait for things to fall into place.  So, hopefully my brain will start to function like normal once again.  If you don't notice any blogging improvement, I beg you to please send me a good book.  Consider this act to be the same as jump starting a dead battery!  Since, however, I haven't quite started to regain all my thinking skills yet, I will share with you a few updates over the past week.

*SICK!  This was how I spent most of this past week.  I felt nauseous and dizzy.  Most importantly, I was extremely tired.  Beyond tired really.  I would fall asleep at the drop of a hat, and if I didn't sleep I'd develop migraine headaches in the evening which would make 10:00 seem like 3:00 am.  I finally started to feel better Friday evening and felt great Saturday.  Sunday (yesterday), however, was terrible.  I'm not sure if it was a stomach flu or food poisoning, but no amounts of Imodium could make me feel better.  Other than feeling a bit beat up today, I'm actually feeling a lot better.  I had a break in between appointments and took a nap in my car.  Never underestimate the power of car naps.  They're fantastic.

*The house is currently on standby.  Apparently there was some paperwork snafu with the previous seller, so our closing date was pushed back indefinitely.  Actually, this is kind of a blessing.  Between Pet Expo and being sick, absolutely no packing has happened yet.  I'm quite relieved to have the extension.  Besides, we have a place to live, so there's no huge hurry.

*Job worries abound.  The VA House of Delegates recently passed a proposal to cut all funding for the arts in VA by 2012.  It's not certain whether it will pass in the Senate as well, but I'm still concerned.  Part of me feels there's not a lot to worry about and to put trust in law makers and in God.  However, to put things plainly, part of me is scared shit-less.  If this bill were to pass, it would mean that Hans would lose his job, and, more importantly, we'd have to move out of state for him to find another decent theatre position.  Who knows?  Maybe we'll be back in MN sooner than planned (which was never).  Until that happens, I'm calling and emailing legislators.  My voice may be small, but it needs to be heard!

Really, other than that, there's not a lot to update on.  Well, maybe there is, but apparently I'm not functioning well enough to recognize it.  I know it's early, but I think bed sounds absolutely fantastic right about now.  ¡Buenos noches!