4 hours early Friday 5

I’m unexpectedly home alone tonight, so I thought I’d throw some words out into the internet and see what happens. We’ve got a boatload of things planned this weekend for Jeff’s birthday, so it’s *kinda* the calm before the storm. SO…………

1) We started our vegetable minions. No, really. We’re so stoked about the garden this year that we started some of our seeds. We’ve got a little indoor growing kit, a growing light above them and a heated pad below. Oh, yeah, and we get to convince every visitor to our house that we’re not growing weed. BUT the joke will be on everyone else when we have broccoli and you don’t!

2) I can always tell when I’ve entered “running season”. Yesterday, my treadmill run left me with BLOODY TOE. For those of you who aren’t as addicted to exercise as me, this is what happens when one toenail is a bit too long and cuts his neighbor like a crackhead robber. It looks much worse than it is, and honestly-the sting the next few workouts when sweat accumulates is far worse. So between my bloody toe of doom, the change in my gait that happens when I start running, and the fact that using my foam roller results in more cuss words than normal all signal one thing: Spring is coming!

3) It’s Jeff’s birthday this weekend. He’s in full beer brewing mode-he’s even entered contests and done fairly well. So I got him a set of beer glasses to replace my sad race-stamped tumblers he’s been resigned to. We’re going to some of the local breweries on Saturday and Sunday he’ll be making his own beer. His only request of me? To sit down and finally watch the blues brothers with him. He’s constantly appalled at my lack of movie knowledge-at least his movies. Most comedies I can quote by heart, but anything not explicity funny or for children, released from 1978-1994 I just haven’t seen. Mom was primarily a single mom most of my life, and then she married my stepdad. That man, he loved him some Dances With Wolves. So I started being the sulky teenager hiding in her room listening to Nirvana instead of watching movies with the family. Damn, I sure loved Clueless though.

4) My health issues are *almost* over! The whole eye business is done (I had a bitch of a corneal ulcer) without ANY permanent damage to my vision. I’m damn lucky there. I’m a bit worried about some gynecological symptoms which just shouldn’t be happening to a person with my medical history, but we’re keeping an eye on it and I refuse to call the dr until something MAJOR happens.

5) Work is actually kind of exciting for me these days. I’ve become a bit of a subject matter expert and have a new boss. That’s taking me way out of my comfort zone, but if I can prepare myself I’m going to have a great knowledge base for this and any career that I want in the field going forward. Bonus points? I get to use totally nerdy phrases in conversation. Something about using hacker tech speak just makes me feel like I should have on lots more leather and spikes! At the least it makes me feel like resourceful cat.

resourceful cat

Happy Almost Friday!

Nobody Wants to See WHAT?

This evening, I was marinating in my bathtub. Literally. I had my wine, the water temp was kicked up to a nice simmer, and the trashy celebrity magazines were reading like candy for my brain. I read an article from Viola Davis, the star of “How to Get Away with Murder”. I generally enjoy Shonda Rimes programming-she’s the producer of Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy, both of which I enjoy enough to watch without multitasking. Viola’s a pretty respected actress, and it was a major “get” for her to be associated with this show. From all accounts, she’s crushing it, though I have tried to get into the show and just couldn’t.

So what in the interview stuck out enough that I’m blogging about it? This little exchange:

Q. You’ve really committed to this role-even removing your makeup on camera. Was that tough?

A. It’s part of women that no one wants to see. It’s not pretty; it’s shocking and really personal.

Wait, what? Did she just say that nobody wants to see a woman without her makeup? Because, really? Does that strike anyone else as odd? Maybe I’m a super weird lady. But when I go to work, they’re lucky if my moisturizer has tint to it and there’s mascara on my eyes. I work out HARD over my lunch hours, and inevitably by 2:00 PM I am a hot mess. Any makeup I would have put on would have run in streams down my face on the AMT machine. And my workouts take long enough that I don’t have time to primp up and apply a “new face” before heading back to the office for 2 little hours before I head home. This probably explains my evening routine of getting home and heading directly to the bathtub-I’ve still got that workout not-so-fresh feeling, though I do make a cursory sweep with body spray, deodorant, and shower-in-a-towlette wipes.

I realize my routine is not for everyone, and that I’m a freak who puts my workouts above my daily appearance. Believe me, high school Laura is completely amazed at how she ended up as the most athletic person she knows. But the crux of the matter above is that a well known actress is stating that nobody wants to see a woman sans makeup. I have to believe that’s not true! So many women wear their makeup like war paint. It shows they mean business. It shows they mean pleasure. It shows the “best” we can be. I have seen the “celebrities without makeup” photos, and I’m amazed at them. But not because of an “oh my gosh she looks terrible” mentality. It’s because, honestly-they look like me. It proves that anyone could really look like the people we see in magazines. Essentially, “celebrities” are pre-packaged, well lit, painted up versions of ourselves. With the right tools, we all could be those people.

So, lady friends, here’s where I admit something and ask for your help. I really, really, really suck at doing makeup. Like, bad. I don’t even know what my good features are, let alone how to play them up. I’m pretty oblivious. I had a friend all lined up to do a tutorial for me, but in a later-blogworthy turn of events, it’s no longer a possibility. So, I pose a question and a request for help:

A) What makeup will my lady friends not leave home without? What piece of armor-makeup, hair, clothing, whatever-makes you feel powerful?

B) Who’s going to teach me how to do makeup? Like, really. I’ll pay you. Hopefully in baked goods and genuine appreciation, but I’ll pay you!

The Farm Kid’s Wife

Jeff and I had plans last Sunday. He’s in school, so taking a Sunday takes a monumental effort and some planning on our part. Homework has to be done in advance, and I have to pretty much take up any slack around the house so he can focus on what he needs to get done. I was willing to do so, because we were going to use our monthly theatre tickets and have lunch at our favorite place stateside; La Buvette. Adult lunchables and copious wine, people. I was so stoked! We’d planned a day between Christmas and New Years to go, but it snowed us out-both places are in Omaha, while we’re in Lincoln. I was sad, but then we had this to look forward to. So, of course, Saturday evening the snow started. And it did not let up. Yeah, our trip didn’t happen. We’ve got plans for the third time to be the charm in a few weeks. Let me tell you mother nature, don’t you try me a third time!

So what did we do with our Sunday? So glad you asked! I have been feeling epicly domesticated as of late. Making apple butter, trying new recipes and crushing it, organizing crap like nobody’s business. So I went to the kitchen, and first off I started poaching some chicken breasts for later use in Enchilauras (patent pending). Then I went to the freezer and saw that we still had a few chicken carcasses (sorry I hate that term, but there it is). So I grabbed those things, threw them in pots, filled them with water, stuffed some veggies and herbs in there and simmered that stuff for about 4 hours. That’s right, I made chicken stock. And I don’t know if it was pride in my work or if it really was that good, but the soup we made from it that night was freaking amazing. Like, I’m still eating it for lunch amazing. Jeff made chicken dumpling soup and hot damn, it was amazeballs. Our snow day turned out to be not so bad.

But then, of course, my brain started working overtime. “I like that”, I thought. “How do I do more of that?” And I pondered. What was it I found so satisfying about making things that cost $.75 to get at the store? Well, the fact that I made it, silly! A hamburger off your own grill always tastes better than running up to McDonalds for the dollar menu version. So I started thinking of other things I could make instead of buying. Yeah, there’s soaps and candles and shit on pinterest. But that wasn’t quite it. So I realized today during bath time-Laura stew always makes me meditative-that it was ultimately creating something with my hands. I like having a product at the end of the day that I can point to and say “I made that”. Whether it’s a vegetable I grew, a meal I cooked, or a coffee table I stained myself, there’s pride there.So I’m going to try to follow what interests me and see what happens. If it’s a colossal failure, fine. But maybe it will be a win. And I can’t know until I try.

Jeff’s pretty stoked on this. He’s been making his own beer for about 3 months. He’s got some plans to put a chicken coop in our backyard. Last year our garden was “OK”. This year, we’re making raised beds, rearranging where stuff goes, and generally making an epic harvest. I’m always pretty happy when I get to work in the yard. I have actually dug a bush I deemed offensive out of my retaining bed, and it was so exciting when I finally ripped it out that I held it over my head and announced to the dogs in my backyard that “I AM SPARTA!”. It’s satisfying.I’m trying to get my way of thought back to a simpler time. Read more at home, make things, do things, live with less distractions. I’m never not going to enjoy some mindless TV or messing around on the internet, but I’m trying to remember there’s always more of that. There’s not always a chance to plant, or built my own raised bed for gardening, or for reading the next book and seeing what I take from it. Maybe things were better without all these distractions we have so readily available. I want to find out.

Eyeballgate 2015

By the post I made this week, you can tell I’m alive. But I thought I’d give an update to the illness that will not end: eyeballgate 2015. To recap, I had viral encephalitis in December. The second that resolved, I ended up with a corneal ulcer. They had a lot of the same symptoms, honestly, and so it was hard to decide how to diagnose the thing. My doctors thought it was one consistent thing, instead of a series of unfortunate events. But once we did figure that out, we thought it would be a breeze to fix.

I had what I’d hoped would be my last eye appt last week, and again today, and had to schedule a third next week. My eye doctor, who had been gone in between my first appt and the one today (she missed about 3 in the middle), made sure to tell me no less than 5 times that my corneal ulcer was “very bad”. In other words, never google “corneal ulcer” if you want to sleep at night. As mine was “very bad”, I cannot imagine what it looked like. Anyway, last week we’d hoped my vision would have cleared up enough for me to put my contacts back in and go on my merry way, but it didn’t work out that way. I had to keep on my antibiotic regimine and add in some steroids to the mix. The theory was that the steroids would clear upt he swelling, which would clarify my vision.

Yeah, that didn’t happen. Today we discovered that my cornea is scarred from the ulcer, in addition to having secondary astigmatism and some pretty significant clouding on the cornea. The doctor is pretty convinced that we can get the clouding a bit further down, and then just adjust my contacts prescription to accomodate for my new lack of vision. The down side to this? I had an eye exam, in December, after the encephalitis, and got a year’s worth of contacts based on that exam. So I have a year’s worth of contacts for one eye which are pretty useless. But the bright side? If it had been any worse, I heard the words “corneal transplant’ thrown around and she told me it was almost that bad. Ugh.

So, for the next week, I’ll be putting some  serious eyedrops in AGAIN. Gosh darn, I can take drops like a boss now. By the end of the work day, the disparate vision gives me a headache and I’ve started to angle closer and closer to my computer screen. I’ve got a headache, and some crankiness I’d like to blame on my eyes/headache if at all possible. And I haven’t even begun to mention all the changes in my workplace over the last two weeks! As I can’t read this text with my left eye, I’ll leave that for another day. But it has been a hell of a few months, and I’m ready for it all to calm down so I can at least breathe. And, yes, Mike:

fish snatch

Blogging and the art of conflict resolution

Good Morning! It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged, and I’d like to explain why.

When I started blogging, I found this great community of healthy living bloggers, runners, and people who did a lot of the same activities as me. Yay! Good! New friends! “WIAW (what I ate wednesday)” posts appealed to the voyeur in me. I loved reading people’s year end recaps and seeing the amazing accomplishments they had, cheering people on, and trying to encourage them when they hit a slump or an injury.

All these things were great. I loved them. I’d hit my bloglovin feed every morning to catch up with everyone while I drank my coffee. And then the comparisons started. “Blogger X loves smoothies? Maybe I should try them” or “Blogger Y ran 50 miles in one week? I need to step it up!”. Despite the fact that the comparisons were all in my head, and totally unintended by the bloggers themselves, I started trying to keep up. Have the healthiest eating habits. Run the farthest. Work out the most. Sometimes it gets easy to forget the simple things in life because you’re focused on metrics.

When I kept trying to run despite a few stress fractures on my left shin, I started to realize I had a problem. I switched my workout plan to let myself heal-and despite my greatest fears and strict monitoring, the sky didn’t fall. Birds didn’t fall out of the sky. And most of all-I stayed at the same weight and level of fitness. I started realizing that maybe pounding the pavement for 35 miles a week had been making me miserable. And then, a friend sent me this article. I saw a lot of myself in there, and I didn’t like what that meant. I’ve complained a lot in my life about falling into the comparison trap. But what I’ve come to realize is that I was walking into it. And after over 20 years of some kind of diet or exercise obsession or the other, I am just plain tired of it. I’ve treated my body as the enemy for far too long. I bullied it into being something I thought was “perfect”, and shamed myself when it didn’t. So I’ve started trying to stop myself when I have a negative thought. I think, “if you were having a conversation with your friend, would you say those words to her? Would you post this thought as a Facebook Status or Tweet?” and if the answer is no (and it almost always is), then I need to be my own best friend and knock that bitchy inner voice off my shoulder. Tell your demon to finally shut up:

Recently, my Mom has started to mirror my running habits and has developed a pretty terrible hip injury as a result. I’m trying to help her, but she’s in the place I was 6 months ago. It’s hard to watch her go through this. We’ve been in a strange competition all our lives, and I know she saw the weight loss I achieved and wanted to mirror it. But watching her now, I don’t see a healthy attitude. I don’t see a strong, independent woman. I see someone desperate to keep a measly 5 pounds off by running their limbs into the ground, no matter the cost. And I cannot become that person again-nor can I let her continue to be that person. It almost makes me relieved that we’re not having kids because I can barely teach myself a healthy body image-how the hell would I teach a child to love her body?

Try to stop caring about what people think:

well, this may be a good place to start…

This morning, I watched the documentary “thin” and it broke my heart. So many people are consumed with body image disorders-too thin, too much exercise, too much food, whatever. It seems like those with healthy attitudes and weights are the anomalies these days instead of those with the “perfect” bodies. And while thankfully my issues are a drop in the bucket compared to what those women were facing, I think everyone can watch that show and recognize at least one thought they’ve had before in regards to their body image. 

The world’s a funny place. We’ve advanced so much that more people die from an abundance of food than from the lack of it. We’re given a dollar menu in one hand and a photoshopped cover girl in the other and expected to balance them and stay sane. We’re basically sisyphus trying to balance the rock on the hill. It’s never been more important to find your happy place-whether that means following a strict diet or a loose one, boycotting media that glorifies retouched images or recognizing that it’s just as much art as the print on your wall, and keeping vigilant in your war against negativity. And for that reason, I’ve stopped blogging as much-if I don’t want to tempt myself to undo the work I’ve done, what’s really left to talk about? My life is not glamorous, wild, or particularly noteworthy. I don’t plan on being an insta-celebrity. So until I can find a happy voice on a subject that doesn’t put my toes on a dangerous line, I’ll probably be pretty sporadic in my posts. After all…


Hi, I’m Laura, and I’m a TV snob. Hi, Laura!

It happens. I’ve giggled at people in the past for talking about a show fervently that I also watch, but peripherally in a “2 screens” situation (where you’re watching a show while also using a computer or surfing facebook from your phone. I’ve covertly watched shows and then removed them from my Hulu profile-it’s shared! I don’t want my husband and the 2 friends I share my password with to know I just binge watched “Little Women: LA”.

I will, however, acknowledge when a show somehow affects me. And tonight, I was watching “Parenthood” and it got all life and death poignant. Circle of life, one chick having a baby while her grandpa is dying in the hospital poignant. And normally that always seems like a plot device, but this show is pretty well written. There’s plenty of good actors on the show (OK, good actors and Dax Sheppard. Seriously, how did Ashton Kutcher’s bro from “Punked” end up here?), and it just seems really earnest and real. Anyway, it’s a good show, check it out, and it moved 1/3 of a bottle of wine Laura to post a love note to my best friend and how I need to squish her baby soon.

I’m keeping things brief tonight, because unfortunately the light from my computer screen is enough these days to keep my headache blaring. Yep, I posted a bit back that the dr thought I had viral encephalitis. Well, a neurologist visit, an MRI, and a look at my case study by some of the finest neurologists in the country (my bestie has connections, how about yours?) has left us scratching our heads. It is sounding like I’ll be scheduling a spinal tap in the near future. Awesome, right? Let’s turn my diagnostics up to 11! Hey, when I’m willing to let them stick a needle in my back, you know I’m truly in dire straights. And for all the amateur doctors in the house, let me recap what’s been going on since roughly Dec 8:

Headaches. I get migraines, and this is NOT that. Sometimes in my eye socket, some at my temples, some at the base of my head. Tonight, it feels like someone has inserted hooks into my brain at the temples and is trying to lift my brain out of my head. I’m classifying the light sensitivity I’m experiencing also in this category.

Vision/Eye issues. I have experienced redness so bad the checkout guy at the grocery store asked me if I partied hard the night before, blurred vision despite the recent eye exam 2 weeks ago, and twitching of the eye enough to drive me crazy. It sucks.

Dizziness. My coworkers must think I’m wasted half the time. These days, I’m always standing up and saying “whoa!” and grabbing the closest piece of stable furniture. Suck town.

Nausea. Sometimes, but not always, it comes with loss of appetite. This means some nights lately I’ve been having chex mix for dinner, some nights none at all (until I go to bed super early, wake up at 11 with a growling tummy, and eat a handful of baked cheetos), and on occasion I’m my normal self. This doesn’t help, seeing as I am mostly unable to work out lately because my brain is pounding the second I increase my blood pressure. I’m up 5 pounds in a month, people. Boo.

Aural Fixation. Yeah, I keep having a ringing in my ears, most of the time at night. What did you think I meant, perv?

Exhaustion. Some of this is the fact that often the only way to get rid of my headache is to lie down in a dark room, but I’m routinely going to bed at 8:30 these days. Weekend naps are stretching longer. I am suddenly a bigger fan of caffeine than I used to be.

So, our online diagnosis (Lyme disease or IHH), coupled with the doctor’s suggestion that if the MRI that I took didn’t yield an answer (all it said was that I had “white matter hyperintensities”) that I was looking at a spinal tap, means that I’m getting a needle straight in the back soon. Hey, it’s like the hyster sister’s epidural, right?