I just might make it

February has been tough, yo.

In part because I realize I am too old to end a sentence with “,yo”.  Yet I feel without it the sentence, “February has been tough,” exudes a stoic adult-ness I do not feel about the situation.

But today I managed to buy prescription cat food online (Spike is a delicate flower, requiring not one, but TWO special diets mixed together to assure all of his output actually does, indeed, output) with just emailing pdfs and jpegs and not requiring me to speak to an actual person in person.

There’s hope, is what I am saying.  Or perhaps, I am saying,

There is hope.

Because I’m an adult.

Ugh and GoDaddy and Other Words Strung Together

I wrote this last Monday and didn’t publish for some reason.  Probably because I was so tired.  Oh wait.  I remember…it took me over 45 minutes to get the fire to the point it did not need babying that night.  I almost cried I was so frustrated.  I am certainly not the best at starting fires, but I do know the basics.  I usually get home first so I have lots of practice starting fires in our wood stove.  But that night the wood was damp and I could not stack the wood so it would sit right on the coals and it was just awful.

Things are better now.  For one, Tom is back.  For another, the temperatures rose to the point a fire is a luxury not a necessity.  I still hate Josh though.

****

I am tired and have a headache and am easily distracted. It makes for an annoying work day where I make an assumption about a piece of paperwork, email someone about it, then realize I have access to additional paperwork that can a) answer my questions or b) completely prove my assumption is incorrect.

And even after doing this twice, I will do it again. I will feel bad and give myself a stern talking to that I am better than this. I will pick up another piece of paperwork, read the first two lines, and say, “This is for X because it was X in the title! I will proceed as if it is for X without reading further!”

I’m not sure if it’s the tired or the distracted that is causing this but I am at the point in the day where I have given up self-correcting. I am just trying to do the bare minimum of work to make it until bedtime. It will save me and my co-workers much time in the long run.

****

I had a very unpleasant experience with GoDaddy first thing this morning, where I was trying to ask about getting a domain name registry wrapped into my hosting service to save a little money.

And the person (Josh) I spoke to has obviously heard this request before and had his answer down pat (that can only be done with a new service, not renewals) but he was so condescending and rude about it. He would not let me finish my very first sentence. He also said, “Well, the domain name is ONLY fifteen dollars” in a way I am very sure he would not appreciate if I clonked him over the head and then took only fifteen dollars out of his wallet.

I would really like to contact GoDaddy and let them know Josh was a dick. It was not the worst experience I’ve had in customer service, but it is the worst I’ve had with GoDaddy.

Except, evidently, you cannot email GoDaddy. You have to call GoDaddy. That great customer service they pride themselves on must be conducted over the phone so they can address your concern as quickly as possible.

I do not want to call them because I do not want GoDaddy to do anything. Maybe fire Josh immediately and send him on the walk of shame with his headset dangling? But I do not want GoDaddy to do anything FOR me. And I feel if I call to complain, it will be implied that I am looking for action by, for example, giving me the fifteen dollar credit I originally called about. And Josh was an asshole, but I understand from subsequent reading, he was a correct asshole. I do not want GoDaddy to bend the rules or give me a special Josh-was-an-asshole discount. I just want GoDaddy to know about Josh because I want to get good customer service from them in the future and letting them think Josh is good at customer service will not facilitate that happening. Maybe they are making the Josh-From-Billing Customer Service Excellence Award right now as I type! Pretty soon it will be 24 hours of reaching Josh and I will have to decide to switch hosting services and I don’t want to do that.

****

I like how I complained that I am jumping to wrong conclusions and rushing forward on assumptions in my own work and then also complained about someone not letting me finish a sentence he was so sure of my question and rushed to answer it.

In other news, it has become officially cold (-30 windchill, HIGH of -3) so we have to have a fire going in the wood stove all the time. My skin is itchy and my hair crackles when I put on a shirt. My toes are pretty much never warm unless I am currently in the shower. I am beginning to understand that I can want to move somewhere there are seasons and still not love 100% every aspect of every season. Tom will be gone for two days (trade show) and something I have already learned from his Christmas trip is that this life we chose is definitely not for the soloist. Maybe with a different house, or different cats, a different commute…but as it sits now, we are both required participants in the daily maintenance of this life. And that goes doubly for when the weather necessitates the wood stove. I am all about equality and toting in wood myself, lighting fires, maintaining fires…but it means while I’m doing that he is making dinner or giving a cat medicine or washing dishes.  When it’s just one of us here, something definitely falls to the wayside.  Usually sanity.

I Feel Like There is a “Nacho” Joke In Here Somewhere. Please Find It.

Somewhere around today probably marks the one-month anniversary for me becoming a vegetarian (again).

It was a bit of a gradual transition due to my habit of making large amounts of a recipe so leftovers are available for either freezing or next week’s meals. Since Tom is not a vegetarian, I did not need to “use up” every single piece of meat in the house but I do remember there being a day or two of meat leftovers after I had specifically purchased only vegetarian groceries.

Overall, I am very happy with the decision and find it extremely easy. Again, beforehand we usually had at least one completely vegetarian meal a week for dinner and I was not eating lots of meat at lunch. This was not such a huge switch for me as it might be for others.

I am a small bit concerned about my energy level. But that is probably more related to stress and my forced resting state as my skin infection healed. I had started a very active morning routine (after the vegetarian switch). I am finding it difficult to re-start but I think that would be the case no matter what my diet.

I will be due to have blood work (thyroid) done shortly, so I feel comfortable continuing my veggie quest with the knowledge I will have a mandatory doctor’s visit where I can share these changes.

I am very surprised with how supportive Tom has been. We try to split housework fairly and I do the majority of the cooking. I have offered to make recipes where meat could be added at the end to complete the dish for him, but he has so far declined. I also agreed to purchase meat if he wants it on the grocery list. That offer has probably been declined because since I never did eat a lot of meat, I was never the person to send over to the butcher to select the best roast.  It usually helps if someone knows what animal a “Boston Butt” comes from.  (A pig.  But I did not know that before Tom and I am pretty sure I have still never purchased one.)

An added bonus with him purchasing whatever meat he chooses to eat is that grocery shopping is a lot faster. I also feel less guilty in choosing a non-sale or expensive “treat”. Last week’s Ranch dressing and veggie nuggets? No remorse over the calories or the dollars!

I should also say that most surprising so far in Tom’s support is that he is eating vegetarian a lot of the time as well. I make enough for there to be leftovers and many nights Tom prefers the convenience of re-heating a vegetarian dish than making something else. It makes me happy to know I can cook vegetarian (or vegan) meals that are tasty enough to appease a meat-eater. It also makes me happy because I believe eating more vegetables is healthier and I like the idea of him being healthy.

Please note that I did not make this change because I thought I would be automatically “healthier”. I am aware that Oreos are vegan and you can find processed junk to fit any dietary restriction. When I ate meat, I aimed to eat homemade meals that didn’t call for a ton of prepackage foods. Now that I am a vegetarian, I do the same.

This diet change is prompted by concerns over animal welfare and the environment. Because of that, I would prefer to seek out vegan meals. On the one hand, the only dairy I eat on a regular basis is cheese and yogurt. On the other hand, I do eat both regularly. If anything, my cheese consumption has gone up since this change. (There I go, not being “healthier”.)

In order to shift myself to eating less dairy, I have purchased a book on vegan crock pot cooking and I’m working through one recipe a week. Once I feel like I have a good enough collection of recipes to work from, I will likely start looking at some of, what I feel like, are the harder vegan decisions like butter alternatives and how to still bake without eggs.

I have already tried one vegan cheese recipe. It was…interesting. It was nacho cheese and if we define nacho cheese as tangy and salty and gooey than I would say the recipe was a success.

If we define it as something we would call cheese and eat with a spoon straight out of a container then…fail.

Flowing Through My Veins

I am having a medical setback that is painful and making me grumpy.

It is another small case of cellulitis on my thigh.  I have filled my antibiotic prescription that my doctor was nice enough to give refills for the last time this happened (June).  I am still on the fence about actually taking it.  The lump appears to have gone down some today, with topical antibiotics and warm compresses.  The oral antibiotic is 4 times a day, 1 hour before or 2-3 hours after a meal, for 10 days.  I’d like to avoid that if possible.

The issue is that the location is an extremely chafey one.  Not only is this causing the pain, but it makes it unlikely that topical solutions will resolve the situation as any sort of friction, such as walking from my desk to the bathroom, will immediately undo the good work.

So…yeah.  I guess I just decided I’m taking the oral antibiotic.  Wheee!

I like to counteract this sort of pain and grumpy with some sort of culinary treat.  Junk food to take my mind off of the hard knot of bacteria throbbing in my leg.  (I bet you’re hungry now!)

And yes, there is vegetarian junk food that does not include high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.  And yes, I do still stick to the bare minimum of my healthy eating mandates even when making poor food choices.

My small attempt at “healthy” junk food does mean I wander the aisles reading ingredient list after ingredient list.  I also knew I didn’t want truly empty calories – I am tired and if I put effort into heating something up at home, it had better make me feel stuffed to the gills.

I kept wandering, reading, searching.  Nothing was leaping out at me.  Finally I had a heart-to-heart with myself and asked, “What is it you truly want to eat that will make you feel good?”

My answer?

“Anything I can dip in Ranch dressing.”

Please note I have ingested Ranch dressing all of zero times outside the state of Wisconsin.  I am as shocked at this revelation as you are.  Cheese State assimilation 99% complete.

Also, I had to buy the “expensive” “organic” dressing just to get the ingredient list to conform to my requirements.

But now I am sitting here with a plate of mozzarella bread, veggie nuggets, and a healthy bowl of Ranch dressing.  And I am VERY happy.

I also just remembered I have salad in the fridge.  Do you suppose people put Ranch dressing on that as well?

Already a Winner!

Here we are, a mere 7 days into 2016, and I have already made it to Walmart once!

I did not want to go, actually.  Because I was in a town I rarely frequent and didn’t know where the Walmart was and had an appointment for a Dr I’d never seen and I assumed I’d be there until past my usual go home time and then still have a longer commute because rarely-frequented town is in the opposite direction from work than home.

But!  I got to the Dr early.  And they didn’t need any intake paperwork because I’m already in this particular clinic’s computer from other doctor visits.  And the Dr actually SAW me early (something very different than arriving early) and the Dr was an Optician, one of the only Opticians in two counties I can see on our new health insurance hence needing to drive to rarely-frequented town, and I only wanted glasses not contacts, and nothing looked alarming in the exam, so it was a pretty short cut-n-dried visit.  I was done 11 minutes after my original appointment time.

I had to see an Optician ASAP because right around Christmas I broke my glasses.

What happened was, Christmas Eve was pretty dead in terms of customers so I decided to sneak into the back room and re-arrange some of our storage.  This included moving huge, old, wood cabinets that we nest one atop another.  Tom wasn’t that impressed with my endeavors because he was under the impression that last time we moved them he left the four-wheeled cart underneath it.  WRONG.

I moved it with my blood, sweat, and tears to back up closer to the wall and had this grand easy plan of creating shelving behind it for things we don’t need access to daily.  Tom was also not impressed with my shelving plan and insisted we need to make actual support structure and not just lay plywood across random stuff onto the cabinets because he has seen people get hurt like that and I don’t know what he’s talking about but in my grand re-organizing a box fell on my head and SNAP went my glasses hinge.

I spent the rest of that day with my glasses taped together, but the arms of my glasses are very wide at the hinge, meeting up completely with the width of the glasses, and that made it very difficult to tape.  They “fell”? out of the tape quite a bit.  When I got home I got out the crazy glue.  The metal hinge is what broke and it is embedded in the plastic frame so it was also very hard to match up to the broken piece inside.   But I finally got it, went to sleep, and in the morning viola!  Almost wearable glasses!

I’ve actually been very impressed with how the glue has held.  It only took 48 hours for me to forget the fragile-glasses situation and close the arms as part of my automatic ritual for getting into the shower.  Evidently the glue that is holding the broken inside piece was not attached, literally or emotionally, to the extra glue that was keeping the arm straight.

But still.  Not ideal.  My glasses always look a little lopsided on my face (it is NOT that my face is lopsided.  It is that every single glasses frame every created is lopsided.  Got it?) but now the left arm, while holding in there, is not exactly tight to my face.  They fall off when I do yoga or bend over to put on shoes.  Since it has been three years since my last exam, off to the Optician I went.

Despite the inconvenient location of the clinic, I would have purchased new glasses there just to have this process one step further along.  Unfortunately, between my pupil dilation and the itty bitty print on the price tags, it seemed like something I was not capable of doing then and there without regrets.  So instead I found out that the Walmart was only 5 minutes from the clinic and there was a back route and that is the thrilling story of how I bought paper towels and toilet paper.

Not a Math Major Or On A Diet

I decided we would have spaghetti for dinner.  And that I would use the whole box because I hate having silly extra portions leftover that aren’t enough for two people.

But when it got to the point of pouring pasta into boiling water, I hemmed.  Hawed even.

I checked the number of servings in the sauce (5), the number of servings in the pasta box (6.5.  Who the fuck has ever eaten a half serving of pasta?), tried to take into to account that we would want to get a 2nd dinner out of this….and put in 4/5 of the box.

Only afterwards, once the spaghetti was cooked and I was combining everything did I realize that I somehow purposely decided that we were only going to eat 1 serving of pasta at each meal.  And while that perhaps does not automatically result in the same swearing a 1/2 serving might, it certainly does in this fucking house.

The really annoying part is that Tom will get home and if he likes it (it has…dun dun DUN…vegan meatballs in it), he will not care that our meal plan included a x2 by this.  While I have tried some moderation with the idea that I can fill up on pecans and dark chocolate chips later – completely guilt-free!  it was just 1 serving of pasta when obviously I need 3 for basic survival! – he will just snarf down the whole bowl.

Oh wait, that’s not the really annoying part.  The really annoying part is that I now have a silly extra portion of spaghetti in a box that isn’t enough for 2 people.  Good job on those math skills!  Thank goodness I went with my gut reaction and didn’t overthink myself into a too-little-pasta corner!  Again!

A New Year of Happy

I didn’t really do resolutions last year.  I privately decided I would try to minimize the amount of trips I made to a certain Mart.  This worked in the sense that I only went there twice in the year.  This did not work in the sense that I sent my husband there instead (they are the only store in the area that carries our 100% recycled brand of toilet paper and paper towels, and the only one that consistently carries our type of cat litter) and also placed an online order for enough cat litter to get free shipping and have the FedEx guy hate me.

It also did not work because the 2nd trip was this past month when I had such a huge shopping to do and I was HAPPY to be shopping there.  I had CHOICES.  And some things were certainly cheaper.  It also is two blocks from my favorite grocery store for bargains (Aldi) and 1/4 mile from my favorite Whole-Foods-Like store (Golden Harvest) so going there to finish up a grocery list means I can be done in one big trip versus one big trip and several smaller trips to closer-to-home (but still chains and therefore not a “better” use of my money) stores.

So I guess what I’m saying is one of my (a little less) private 2016 resolutions will be to NOT minimize the amount of trips I make to WalMart.  I will continue to not plan out trips specifically around the store and possibly do more online ordering when we really, truly only need those 3 essentials so I am not tempted by bargains.  But I will also not walk out of Aldi missing 4 ingredients for a recipe and trying to figure out when I can squeeze in another grocery trip that week.

Other random things I have decided to call resolutions for 2016:

  1. Get my teeth whitened.  I will start with a home-whitening kit but if that fails and finances allow, I will pursue it further with my dentist.  My teeth have never been very white.  It’s a side effect of having those old-fashioned braces with full bands cemented onto my teeth.  But since moving here, it has Gotten Worse.  At first I blamed our well water.  Then I blamed my smoothie, which I had changed from breakfast to snack and therefore wasn’t brushing right after.  So my hygienist scraped and scraped and SCRAPED OUCH and I started brushing my teeth midday and things were OK for awhile.  But I moved my smoothie back to breakfast and stopped that midday brushing and things have gone a bit grey again.  So I guess either it is our well water or I really need that 3rd cleaning to keep stains at bay.  I don’t really care if my teeth are white as pearls (which, um, they are whiter than some pearls I’ve seen so…?) but there are a few spots that noticeably stain to the point you might be distracted by it when talking to me up close.
  2. Become a vegetarian and lean more towards vegan.  I’ve been a vegetarian before, and never ate a ton of meat anyway, but it definitely has been a staple in our lives since Tom and I met.  In the past I’ve thought that moving away from meat, at least chicken, would be bad for me because I tend to not feel good if I don’t eat A LOT of protein and I have concerns about eating soy.  But the reality is I haven’t felt great for over a year now anyway – soy free – so why not give it a try?  It’s been over two weeks since I made the switch and so far so good.  (Although I still haven’t eaten much soy.)
  3. Use my Bullet Journal consistently and effectively and messily.  By “consistently” I mean, “Take some time at least every morning and evening to update to-dos, calendars, and other lists.”  A Bullet Journal is very helpful for me when I use it.  When I slip away from daily use it is not because I’m using something else – it’s because I feel too busy to take the time to write stuff down.  Which is exactly the time I need to use it the most.  “Effectively” and “Messily” actually go together although I know that doesn’t make sense.  By “effectively” I mean that I need to tailor lists and pages to suit me better.  And by “messily” I mean that if to use it effectively I need to change format half way through a book, I should do that.  I also mean that I should have more fun with writing and doodling in general in my Bullet Journal and fight the urge to keep it some pristine, regimented style.  It is a place for my thoughts, and they are definitely not either.
  4. Go for a Hike.  Capitalized to emphasize a long hike.  Ideally, I will take 3 weeks and hike the Superior Hiking Trail.  I have been pseudo planing this for some time now and my job is aware and supportive of the idea.  But there are a lot of possible obstacles so I won’t beat myself up if this doesn’t happen AND I will also hold myself accountable to find some other, shorter but still multi-day, trip.  HIKING MUST HAPPEN.
  5. Care less about who reads here.  I wrote two posts recently that I marked “private” and can only be seen by me.  While I do think one of them should remain that way out of courtesy to someone else (my ex-husband), the other is private because my family, close friends, and in-laws have become semi-regularly readers since we blogged our Appalachian Trail hike in 2013.  I LIKE that they read (hello people who know me in real life!), but I DON’T LIKE how my readership has censored me to the point that when I wish to complain that my husband is being an asshole (it happens, people) I end up spending 4/5 of the post trying to explain 1) I know he’s not an asshole all the time 2) this doesn’t mean anything significant in our marriage – we’re not divorcing or In Trouble 3) I’m aware I can be an asshole to at times.  While all 3 of those concepts may be true, they detract from the purpose of the post – MY HUSBAND IS BEING AN ASSHOLE AND I MUST COMPLAIN MIGHTILY THIS IS WHY THE INTERWEBS WERE CREATED.  (I will also take an ironic moment here to point out my husband is not – currently – being an asshole.  He’s actually at home getting chores done and later on today we have plans for our first(!!) movie at a real theater in years.  He also wasn’t an asshole yesterday.  BUT THE DAY BEFORE THAT MAYBE AND I DON’T CARE HOW MANY WEIRD FAMILY TEXTS THIS SHOCKING REVELATION CAUSES.)
  6. Use caps lock less.

 

Merry Cheesecake!

Merry Christmas!

For Christmas so far I have:

  1. Emptied, cleaned, replaced the cat litters.
  2. Washed dishes.  Thrice.
  3. Washed my “delicates”.  (I’m thinking once you get to a certain band size and  a certain cup size, they are no longer “delicate”.  Check and double check.)

But it’s not all fun and games here.  I DID open Christmas packages, go on a very long walk in snow-covered majestic-ness, and cook all sorts of tempting goodies which meant my very long walk should have been a very, very long walk but whatever.  It’s Christmas.

One item I made for myself for this holiday season was a cheesecake.  It came out wonderfully.  I’ve had three pieces now (breakfast, lunch, dinner…what?) and each time I marvel at how genius it was to make the crust out of  spekulatius (German spice cookies) because nothing says “awesome dessert” the way step 1 of a recipe calls for, “Take a complete dessert in its own right (cookies) and mash it with 6 tablespoons of melted butter.”

 

Some More Things

  1. No, I don’t know when I’ll feel like I have the time and inspiration to write something other than a list.
  2. We needed a huge shopping this week and I mustered up the fortitude to go to THREE stores to get the best deals/favorite brands (or favorite generics).  And I STILL decided to buy a few of the wrong things at the wrong store for the best price.
  3. Those things I purchased incorrectly are things that a) we don’t need often and b) I feel angry about the need for them AT ALL.  For example, one was special laundry detergent for hand washing my delicates.  I opted to not buy it at store #2 because CERTAINLY IT SHOULD NOT COST THAT MUCH.  But alas, it was $1.00 more at store #3.  Then I considered whether I could just use regular detergent (no, because we keep it at the shop since we do regular laundry at the laundromat in town and if I bring it home we’ll forget to bring it back) or just use hand soap (no, because we like foaming hand soap which is ALSO EXPENSIVE and maybe we should just get regular hand soap except that I never feel like I can rinse my hands soap-less in our well water so I’d probably just stop washing my hands) or just use dish soap (no, because for the same reason we use EXPENSIVE foaming hand soap we use EXPENSIVE specific-name-brand-specific-extra-power-style dish soap to clean our dishes in well water) so I bought the BIGGER, MORE EXPENSIVE special laundry detergent so at least cost per ounce went down and now that I’ve written this all out I think using our dish soap would have been fine.
  4.  I also still have things on my shopping list because we did not absolutely need them and I was trying to save (or space out spending) money.  But now I wish I had bought them and never had to shop again.  Ever.
  5. Another reason for a huge shopping list is that Tom is leaving on Wednesday to spend Christmas with his family.  I think I’ve mentioned that before?  But maybe not.  At any rate, I will not go into my office job from Wednesday through next Tuesday (although I will work for them remotely) and keep our shop open.  Since no one will be around to help with other chores, I tried to plan out meals and shopping through next Wednesday.  We’ll see how well I did and if I can find time to get everything cooked.
  6. I am not sad to spend Christmas by myself.  I am happy it means Tom gets a vacation and to see his family.  I have a special meal of all vegetarian appetizers planned and a book a friend sent me that will come down off my “to be read” shelf.  I will probably buy a little wine even though that means going back to a grocery store.
  7. I held off on buying wine because right before Thanksgiving I bought enough (6) bottles to get a huge ($18) rebate.  There is a similar rebate for a similar amount of bottles available right now (different brand), but I was really hoping to actually get the rebate check in the mail first so that it could cancel out some of the up-front cost of this next purchase.  But time is ticking and my “emergency” whiskey got used when I found a small skin infection (AGAIN?!) yesterday during my shower.
  8. To end on a positive note: a) the infection looked MUCH BETTER this morning and I’m 99% sure I won’t need an oral antibiotic or to curtail my exercise routine b) the emergency whiskey tasted awesome.

Some Things

  1. The nice thing about starting a more hectic schedule at this time of year is that you know IT WILL GET BETTER.  Of course it will get better because ALL (most?) schedule changes get better.  You adjust.  You tweak.  You compromise.   But having a schedule change occur during the darkest part of the year means that while it is awful right now, there is (literally!) light at the end of the tunnel and in a few months one of the tweaks you make is to not fall asleep at 6pm.
  2. Getting on a different schedule with less free time means all of a sudden I feel compelled to fit ALL THE THINGS into that free time.  I seriously do not think I have meditated or done yoga in 3 months and while it is a worthy endeavor to find time and space, it is NOT a worthy endeavor to beat myself up over it.  Also, since I DO want to fall asleep at 6pm these days, I’m basically trying to cram a bunch of self-improvement stuff into the 5am – 8:30am time slot which includes an hour wait time between taking my thyroid meds and when I’m allowed to drink coffee.  Insane.
  3. One thing I HAVE been religious about since the roads got icy and the sun went away is using my elliptical in the morning.  I find it very boring, but a month or so ago I finally broke down and got an iPhone 6 which is just a big enough screen to watch romantic comedies on.  That makes it bearable and sometimes I can trick myself into working out a little longer if I get to a good part.
  4. Although if time and weather cooperate on the weekends, I still prefer a walk outdoors.  After a few weeks of icy temperatures, things have warmed up here and there is pretty much no snow on the ground and today it rained.  RAINED.  I love it of course but it is weird and also making me anxious.  Like I’m waiting for the other, ice-storm-power-out-for-days, boot to drop.