I Mustache You a Question…is there turkey yet?

My blog buddy Mike reminded me yesterday that there’s other bloggers out there and sometimes it’s fun to participate in a survey making the rounds. As it’s the day before Thanksgiving, and we’re all kind of checking out mentally, answering some basic questions sounded like the perfect way to throw some more strange facts about me out there. So…

4 names that people call me, other than my real name:
1. Loey
2. Sister
3. Ninner (my brother started this one and I’m realizing you need to hear him say it to understand)
4. MRS ANDERSON (in a nod to Mike’s Matrix post)
4 jobs I’ve had:
1. Pizza Delivery Wench (both Godfathers and Pizza Hut)
2. Account Manager
3. Smoothie Maker/Bagel Baker/Crappy College jobs here
4. Group Exercise Instructor (something 20 years ago I’d have shrieked and ran away from)

4 movies I’ve watched more than once (by “more than once”, I’m assuming “could annoy someone by reciting most lines until I get slapped and told to shut up”):
1. Billy Madison (“Suntan lotion, is good for me. You protect me, tee hee hee”)
2. Breakfast Club (“this is what you get when you spill paint in the garage!)
3. All things John Cusack from the 80’s (Lloyd Dobler is still my dream boyfriend. It’s cool, Jeff stood outside a window miming holding a boom box once. Basically the same thing.)
4. Anchorman (“I stabbed a guy with a trident!”)

4 books I’d recommend:
1. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (this was the original poster’s first book as well, and ALL OF THE YES. JESUS IF DUNCAN COULD BE LIKE ENZO…)
2. The Season of Passage by Christopher Pike. I always used to think this should be made into a movie, but I’ve become content to just appreciate that as a 20-something who loved Christopher Pike as a YA, this was pretty much gold to me.
3. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I just loved the way she spoke, and some of her phrasing damn near broke my heart.
4. Duma Key by Stephen King. I used to read this every Summer. By the time it rolled around I *kinda* forgot enough details that I felt like I was reading it anew, but found enough familiarity and enjoyment in it that it was like my favorite pair of Summer shoes.

4 places I have lived:
1. Lincoln, NE
2. Hastings, NE
3. Titonka, IA (yes, it’s a place)
4. Denison, IA
**this makes me realize that of these places, Lincoln was my only conscious choice and only because I chose to come to college here and then stayed after. Jeff and I have our big Europe dreams which I’m so determined to make a reality, but until that can happen I see no point in moving anywhere else stateside.

4 places I have been (tough choices!):
1. Rome-Any time I think of “the best trip I’ve taken” or “the happiest I’ve ever been” or even “the best meal of my life”, this is it. I knew I was looking forward to our honeymoon more than the actual wedding, and to say it was life changing is an understatement. It fueled a deep seated feeling that Italy is where my spirit calls home. It’s where I want to be, how I want to live, and I will get back there.
2. Dublin-This was half of our honeymoon and so many things we saw, I know I’ll never see again and just really appreciate the experience.
3. Boston-About the only place stateside I’ve purposefully visited more than once. I can’t put my finger on why, but ultimately what comes to mind is the dinner Jeff and I had at Legal Seafood and how freaking amazing it was. I hated seafood as a kid and have really enjoyed embracing it as an adult.
4. Idaho Springs, CO-this was always the reward for my mom and I after running the “Bolder Boulder 10k”. Starting as a girl who’d never ran and was seen as the uncoordinated tubby oaf in high school, the fact that I could even run a 10k made me cry as I crossed the finish line. Then we went to visit one of the cutest damn mountain towns I’d ever seen. The best pizza of my life. Hiking. Hills. Hot springs. A slightly seedy resort, but not in a way that I felt gross, unsanitary, or unsafe. I have so many fond memories of this town and really want to share it with my husband.
4 places I’d rather be right now:
1. Punta Cana, Puerto Rico
2. Machu Pichu, Peru
3. Anywhere in Europe
4. Anywhere that’s warm. You’re asking me this in Nebraska, in Nov. Ask again in 6 months, and you’ll probably get different (and more honest) answers.

4 things I don’t eat
1. Tropical Fruit
2. Peaches
3. OK, I’m cheating here. BUT if we have something for dinner that’s high calorie, I’ll eat it. I love it. I worked out hard that day and I deserve a delicious dinner. But Jeff wants me to take it to work for lunch the next day, and I balk at the idea. I keep my lunches super low calorie, and that just won’t work. It’s dumb, because I JUST ATE IT YESTERDAY, but I have a mental calorie block. It’s like how we had pizza catered in at work today, but I ate my can of soup instead. I can’t have heavy calorie foods for both lunch AND dinner. So I make choices. And so my work day involves what Jeff calls “sad food” so I can rationalize my dinner and wine choices when I get home.
4. Anything gelatinous or colloidal. Jeff had a terrine at our favorite French restaurant in driving distance, and I was not into that at all. Which was a shame, because theoretically it was damn good food, but it’s the one texture that freaks me out.
4 of my favorite foods:
1. Popcorn
2. Pizza
3. Ice Cream
4. fruit (yeah, that’s a cop out. I do what I want.)

4 TV shows that I watch:
1. Scandal
2. Project Runway
3. Bones
4. HGTV (yeah, that’s basically one show, just repeated over and over.)
**I feel this is pretty representative, but by no means comprehensive. I watch TV. It’s sometimes cheesy, sometimes trashy, sometimes lulls me into a deep sleep, and sometimes makes me think. I make no apologies for any of those emotions.)

4 things I’m looking forward next year:
1. Hopefully some vacation time
2. Paying off some debt and inching towards our goals
3. Furthering my path of self discovery, avoiding the comparison trap, and encouraging other women to do the same.
4. Getting my running groove back.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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Why am I so butthurt?

I have a ritual at the end of the work day. When I get home, I generally need a few moments to decompress before I can really talk normally to another human being. The dogs being so excited to see me that they jump all over me annoys me. The poor husband who’s been home alone all day and just wants someone to talk to gets brief responses and me constantly escaping to another room to be alone, resulting in a comical chase around the house. Makes me wonder if I’m more of an introvert than I thought. Anyway, last night my need for decompression led to a bit of a tiff between me and the husband.

Shortly after I’d walked in the door and was getting ready for my nice, relaxing bath, there was a knock at the door. Jeff goes to see who it is, and steps out to talk to the Time Warner guy who’s out there. Apparently he was trying to upsell us because we currently only have internet-that they know of. See, when we cancelled the cable, we still got all the channels, through like 60 or something. At first I just thought that was what everyone “gets” for free now and wondered why anyone pays for the stuff, but then I realized that we were scoring free cable. Anyway, the guy must have been persistent because Jeff tells him “look, you can take it away if you want but we already get x-y channels.” Guy’s all flabbergasted and asks Jeff if that’s legal-we tell him we cancelled everything through their office.

Jeff comes back in to relay the story and I get disproportionately annoyed. You TOLD him we’re scoring free cable? Why would you do that! Now I won’t get to watch HGTV when I get home! WAH! And poor Jeff’s all perplexed. “Yeah, what’s the big deal? We have Netflix and Hulu and plenty of ways to be entertained”. And there’s the problem. The heart of the matter. Jeff’s in school. He’s reading about math and poli sci when he’s doing homework, and about space when he’s not. Pretty intellectual stuff. I spend my evenings watching TV, messing around on the computer, and read the occasional tabloid (OK, not occasional-I get a few subscriptions. Don’t judge). I get pretty defensive about that stuff because I feel like I “should be” more intellectual than I am. I’m a smart lady, but at the end of the day I want mindless fluff instead of getting smarter, creating things, or cleaning house. And I feel guilty about that, so I transferred that into annoyance at Jeff. Not fair, right?

We all do that to some degree, though. The things we’re most self conscious about in ourselves get rigorously defended when someone sees them. It’s projection. I’ve been working on my insecurities, and I’m aware that feeling like I’m not using my full potential is one of them. So instead of whining, being mad, or any other reaction, I just went into the bathroom, closed the door, and took my bath. I’m pretty prone to a gut response and then once I think about things, getting better perspective and totally changing my opinion. I thought about what was at the core of my reaction instead of “I can’t believe he told them to take our free cable away!” And I realized that my reaction wasn’t really to the situation at all, it was an internal feeling of being “less than”. So I made myself list ways that was wrong. You can only be “less than” if you’re comparing yourself to someone. And I’m trying HARD to break the comparison trap.

So, the moral of this story: I’m maturing. I can recognize when my gut’s telling me to do the wrong thing, separate from the situation, and wait until my gut catches up to my brain. Look at me, adulting all over the place!

Things I’ve Learned in My Thirties

I am frighteningly close to being categorized in my “Late Thirties”. Hell, when I input my stats on the machines at the gym, I now have to kick the median “35” up a notch instead of down. The thought of leaving mid thirties and hitting late thirties can be scary. I saw this buzzfeed article recently and it made me think about what I’ve learned in my thirties.

It’s OK not to finish what you’ve started. I used to read every page of the magazine, watch every episode of the TV show, finish a book that I didn’t like because I had some misplaced, grim sense of follow through. But you know what? We know what we like now. If I don’t want to read one or two articles in my Entertainment Weekly, I don’t. If I’m not enjoying a show, I cancel my subscription. If the book doesn’t hook me, it goes back. Time is precious. And though there’s still lots of things I want to learn how to do, I’ve quit trying to shove a square peg in a round hole.

You can stay home if you want. There was a time when I felt like I had to be out, be seen, do all the things! And you know what? Geez, it was exhausting. If, at the end of the day, I want to sit on my couch and spend time with my dog…well, he’s a pretty darn good listener. And you know what? It makes going out more special.

A bad workout isn’t the end of the world. Admittedly, this one is more of a work in progress. But a few years ago, if I’d had an off day at the gym and had to cut my workout 10-15 minutes short, I’d try to make it up after work, hit it harder next time, or even not eat something to compensate for the calories not worked off. But fitness is cumulative. If a workout that I normally can sweat right through brings me to my knees, there’s probably a reason. Maybe you’re fighting off a cold you don’t know about. Maybe you slept bad last night, you’re still sore, or any number of things. Tomorrow’s a new day, and a bad workout is still better than none at all.

Your style is your own. I’ve seen some of the clothes in stores lately, and they frighten me. I will not be wearing acid washed jeans, overalls, or any shoes with a pointy heel. It doesn’t work for me, and I won’t pretend it does. See above about shoving a square peg in a round hole. But my point is, you’ve found what works for you, and you’ve come to accept that just because something is trendy, doesn’t mean you have to do it.

You don’t have to keep your home exactly like your mom/grandma/whomever did. I keep my home in a pretty decent state of tidiness. Is everything dust free? No. Are my baseboards scrubbed clean, windows glistening in the sun, and all dishes done at all times? No. But my husband and I have come to a place where we’re happy, things are tidy and clean, and I don’t have to worry my epitaph will read “Here lies Laura, her home was spotless”. If I want to read a book instead of dusting my bedroom, that’s fine.

Treat. Yo. Self. You’ve learned what makes you happy. Do that. Do it as often as you can. My evening bath is literally my happiest point in the day. It’s me time. Find your me time, your happy place, and be there as much as possible. Life’s too short to deny yourself a delicious dessert if it’s there, a nice facial scrub that makes you feel pretty, or whatever the hell floats your boat.

Failure is OK. I am really into the idea of woodworking. Like, refinishing tables, building things, whatever. My first refinished table? Not that great. But I’m learning. And in learning it’s OK to fail. It’s also OK to try something new and hate it. I tried to get all crafty and make our own coasters, and other related pinterest projects. Some Most of them did not turn out pretty. I tried Zumba once. Didn’t like it. DID try becoming an instructor at my gym and loved it. Trying and failing is OK; how else do you know what you like?

OK, I’ve not tried THIS yet, but I’m getting more adventurous!

Your palate is an ever evolving delight. Foods you used to hate will suddenly be delicious. I can’t even list all the things that within the last 5-10 years I discovered I enjoyed. I used to have some irrational vendetta against pears & watermelon. Love them now. Still hate tropical fruit though, but I try it every so often! My wine of choice has gone from dessert wine to moscato to riesling, on through until I drink Merlot now. I would never have ate mussels a few years ago. Now? One of our special treats for dinner. I could go on and on, but to sum it up: give peas a chance. Just because you once hated something, give it a fresh try. You’ll be surprised at what you discover about yourself.

I’m sure there’s so many other nuggets of wisdom I could give you, but that should be enough to reassure you all that I’m still alive out here, finding gifs of puppies and spouting my own personal version of wisdom. Life’s good, and I’m trying to enjoy as much of it as possible right now. If that means my blogging is sporadic at best, so be it.