Tag Archives: woe

Pity, party

I think I’ve documented before on this site how this time of the year always gets me down. It’s still winter and kinda gross outside; I am going to have yet another birthday soon.

It’s been a rough winter. We lost Petra, and have lived through a gloomy and depressing January and February. We’d intended to go on a trip someplace warm but all that money got eaten up by Petra’s vet bills. We’re not where we want to be and both of us are having a hard time with that. And I’m getting old.

A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to have a birthday party here in Denver, something I haven’t attempted since 2003. We have a decent-sized group of friends for the first time in forever, and so I thought, hey, why not invite everyone over for a party? I sent out an invite, and within the first few days got a ton of “No”s and no “Yes”es other than Dan and myself.

Well, after I waited a few more days and my closest friends in Denver told me (in other words, but I understood the underlying meaning) that they’d rather go skiing YET AGAIN than come to a party to celebrate my birthday, even though I do lots of nice things for them on their birthdays (like make cakes from scratch), I decided to cancel the party.

It was a rough week for a variety of reasons. Finally, on Wednesday, I decided to do something about my terrible mood and self-pity. I looked at plane tickets to California and decided to cash in the $200 voucher* I got from being booted off a Frontier flight last year. I thought we could perhaps go out the last weekend of March, in honor of our 2-year anniversary, and as a belated birthday present to myself, and maybe we’d figure out how to have some sort of a party.

That very evening, my friend Brian offered the use of his house and yard for StrykerFest 2010 without any provocation, and my day was made. I may not be having a birthday party this year, but I am going to get to see friends and family, spend time in my favorite place, and not even think about people who would rather go skiing for the umpteenth weekend in a row than celebrate something fun.

We’ll be in the Bay Area March 25-30 and I couldn’t be more excited. Even if only 5 people show up to the shindig, we still plan to have a good time.

*story forthcoming

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Yet another tale of camera woe, plus, what we did in California

First, a short tale of woe: I lost another camera. It fell out of my backpack as I was walking to work last Thursday. I’d had it in the small pocket at the bottom, where my phone charger also was, from traveling (normally it would have been in a larger pocket). I pulled out the charger on Wednesday night and forgot to zip the pocket back up, and completely forgot the camera was in there as I walked to work on Thursday. In fact, I didn’t notice until noon when I planned to upload my photos from the trip and blog about them.

Dan looked everywhere at home. It wasn’t there. All the photos I took in California, plus the camera itself: gone again. I put up signs on Thursday afternoon along my route back home. I went into or called everyplace that I thought someone might have taken the camera to (the Capitol, a middle school) if they found it outside. On Friday I called pawn shops and filed a police report. No dice.

So once again we went on a trip and I took a whole bunch of amazing photos that are now gone forever. Also, I went online to find another camera (I wanted the same one, a Canon Powershot A720 IS, because I really liked it). When I bought it in March of 08 it was about $200. Now, to buy the same camera new, it’s over $400! Ridiculous! Even the slightly used/refurbished models were over $200 on most sites. So I looked on Ebay and found the camera and bid on it and won! My first ever ebay auction, and I was the winner! I should be getting the camera by some time next week (I hope).

Meanwhile, I don’t think I’m a talented-enough storyteller to amuse the 4 readers of this blog with tales of our California trip. I will say that it was the most relaxed trip we’d had to the Golden State since sometime in 2006. There were no parties we had to plan, no weddings to plan or attend, no graduations. I got to eat the baby as much as I wanted, and watched what may be the best movie ever made about reform school girls with Leah and Simon. We became rock gods via Guitar Hero World Tour (Me: singing, drums. Dan: guitar) with the Irish German. We attended a 30th birthday party at a great pub in Berkeley. We got to see lots of friends and family members and spent hours lazing outside at another great pub. We ate greasy burgers/burger-like items, Ethiopian food, gelato, noodles, and microwave burritos. We experienced the newly-refurbished and -reopened Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and saw everything but the planetarium. My knee mostly behaved. I learned I am terrible at darts. And we got to hang out with my friend Patient Zero Matt from the old message board, which was totally awesome because we hadn’t seen each other in five years! The best part was when the three of us went to (yet another) pub to meet up with Scarlett at the end of an evening, and it turned out Scarlett and her boyfriend Jason knew Matt from attending the wedding of some mutual friends. Craziness, and small world.

I can recreate some of the shots I took some other time when we’re in California (mostly they were of the UC Berkeley campus and the new Academy of Sciences), but it’s just not the same thing. I took some great ones. I hope someone, somewhere, gets enjoyment out of them.

Two steps forward, one step back

I’ve been enjoying this whole “playing on a softball team” experience, as it’s something I’ve never really done before. I did ballet as a child and never participated in any team sports (other than what I was required to do in PE). In high school, I was on a summer community swim team, but swimming is far more of an individual sport than a team sport. I’ve never been a part of team cameraderie, worn a team shirt, or had the opportunity to care how other people did in a physical activity. But the practices and the games we’ve had thus far (at least, the 2 I’ve been able to attend, having been sick last week) have been a lot of fun.

Someone told me recently that adult softball is the sport most likely to cause injury. Yesterday was one of those days where I felt like a newspaper headline come to life. First, a teammate caught a ball with his hand rather than his glove, and the stitching on the ball sliced open the skin between two fingers. He was one of our best players, so it was a real injury to the team. Then, I hit a grounder toward first, ended up avoiding the first baseman and got to first base safely, only to somehow end up doing a partial split and messing up my knee.

At first I was kind of in shock. I couldn’t get up. My knee wouldn’t move. And then it started hurting. I’ve never had any knee injuries before (hips, ankles, neck, shoulder, back, and calf, but no knee) so I wasn’t sure what I was feeling or what I had done. I iced it until Dan came to pick me up using the bag of ice from the other team’s cooler, sitting in a daze, trying to cheer on my team and razz the other team while trying not to think of exactly what a bad knee injury would mean. I’m still getting over a bad cold, have only been to the gym once in the last ten days, my clothes still aren’t fitting right and I’m starting to feel depressed about it. And then I go and hurt my knee.

We went home and I put my leg up on the couch, took some aleve and iced my knee some more. It started taking a little more weight so I had hope that when I woke up this morning it would be fine. Unfortunately, that is not the case. It’s not as painful as yesterday and not swollen, so those are good things. I have it wrapped under my pants and I can walk slowly and with a limp. It hurts the most when I straighten it and put weight on or when I bend it too far. It crunches a little. I’m going to take it easy today, put it up when I get home, and hope for the best. I gotta say, I’m a little tired of sustaining injuries to my limbs prior to trips. We’re headed to California this weekend to attend a friend’s birthday party and hang out with our friends and our internet nephew, Wombat. Keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be feeling OK to walk on it normally by Saturday.

Follow-up

1. The beef stroganoff I made for Dan’s birthday was a success! At least, he and Steve pretended to like it. What I made turned out to be more of a beef bourignon because I used red wine instead of white. No fancy-pants cream of mushroom soup for my man! Instead, I used nonfat greek yogurt, a little bit of cream and butter, and a lot of seasoning. I didn’t really like cooking the beef (mostly because it made the house smell like cooked beef) and I managed to figure out a way to cook the mushrooms and onions separately so I only ate that part and not the beef part. The rest of the dinner was egg noodles (a must with beef stroganoff), a salad, and a fantastic chocolate cake, the recipe for which I will post tomorrow.

Dan said he had a good birthday, so that’s what matters. I gave him a nerdy t-shirt designed by Wil Wheaton, a copy of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, and a bottle of fancy Jameson’s Irish Whiskey.

2. My leg is having sympathy pain this week or something. I woke up yesterday morning with a nasty charlie horse in the same spot where I tore my calf muscle last year. Today is the one-year anniversary of that injury, so yesterday I took it easy in the class where I had the initial injury and it was OK. You’d think that my leg would have gotten it together to heal completely in a year, but it hasn’t – I still have days where it hurts or aches, and there’s still a funky divot when I flex my calf muscle in a certain way. Here’s your lesson, kids: don’t tear your calf muscle. It sucks and won’t heal for a really, really long time.

3. Let’s just say Project Hott is not going anyplace fast. I looked at the photos from my friend’s party again for additional motivation and it just made me feel worse. It hasn’t helped that my leg has been bugging me all week and that I can’t do all of the abs portion of my classes because I’ve been having nasty vertigo for a few weeks now (Sunday was the worst; I had blurred vision and felt like I was falling-down drunk after we were out walking around the neighborhood taking photos, which is why we had to go home and didn’t get more accomplished). Doctor Google tells me that there are three possibilities for why I’m getting this oh-so-fun sensation, and in all three cases the solution/cure is “wait and it will eventually go away.”

Sorry I’m not all sunshine and rainbows coming out of my butt. I guess everybody has bad weeks. (Also, work stuff. I’m not even going there.)

The one really good thing that happened this week, though, was that I reconnected with an old friend who I’d lost touch with (from the same site where I met Dan). He’s living in LA, working on films, was teaching high school for a while, and seems to be in a much better headspace than he was five years ago. (He even ran the Great Wall marathon with only two months of training! That is some serious business.) Once upon a time we were pretty tight, so it’s nice feeling like I have my friend back again.

Grace in small things (because I haven’t done this in a while)

1. Spoons.
2. Friend gave birth yesterday, 3 weeks early but now she no longer has pre-eclampsia.
3. Videos of Wombat and Spats.
4. Head rubs.
5. Husbands having good birthdays.

I went to California for a week and I need another week to recover

First, my sister and Curtis got themselves all marrified. Yay! I will write a wedding post, maybe tomorrow, because holy cow, people have already put up like 500 photos on their flickr site and they just got married on Saturday.

Second, while I enjoyed doing everything that I did, I never want to work in the wedding industry. Three weddings in 12 months was hard enough, I can’t imagine doing it all the time. Maybe it’s different if you’re getting paid for it, I dunno.

So. I flew to Oakland on Saturday the 26th (at night) after a busy day of errand running (post office, pharmacy, fabric store) and purse-finishing and packing. My sister and her almost-husband picked me up at the airport, and when we got to their house I got to work on my first task – making some fake flowers Lissa had gotten into hair wreaths for their flower girls.

Sunday, we (and by we, I mean my family) threw a suprise birthday party for Lissa (her birthday was the 30th). She thought she would be attending a coed shower but didn’t know anything else. A good time was had by all 16 people and I hope it was nice for her to have some birthday-oriented time rather than wedding time (my birthday this year was all but swallowed by wedding prep; I even kind of forgot I was having one) since it was my idea that the party be a surprise bday shindig and not a shower. We had salads and pizza and tasty beverages (Jupiter’s sells a very lovely pomegranate hard cider) and my mom made a chocolate cake. After the party, we went back to their house and worked on wedding stuff.

Monday I woke up in abject misery. My neck went out again, and I have no idea why, but it hurt like a mofo and made things much more difficult because there were a lot of projects and errands I was intending to help with that I just couldn’t. Lissa got their rings cleaned and bought some makeup at Benefit, and Laurel and I tagged along. We got some food at Trader Joe’s. I spent most of the day on the verge of tears because 1. my neck hurt really, really badly, and 2. I was essentially useless after making the trip out to be helpful. I ended up working on a few projects that didn’t ultimately happen, like spraypainting blackboard paint on some cardboard for directional signs that never got used. It turned my finger black!

Tuesday was Lissa’s final dress fitting up at the same shop where I got my dress, so Laurel and I went up with her and met my mom at the shop. Lissa had no end of trouble getting the dress to be right (the shop ordered a size too big, which came in late, so it had to be drastically altered, and the fabric for the veil didn’t come until a week before the wedding so there wasn’t time for anyone but the dress shop to make it, and her dress got shuttled between Santa Rosa and the Bay Area at least twice, and she probably had six fittings, and when it was finally done the lady still hadn’t done everything she was supposed to do to the dress). I had far less drama with my dress but the last alteration on mine was never done, either, so I am starting to think the whole thing was just a scheme to get more money for the alterations lady. My sister intends to write a scathing review on Yelp, and I am glad I stuck to my guns and insisted on the size that I knew would fit me. We ran a few other errands that day – to the wholesale flower place to look at flower possibilities, to Costco and Trader Joe’s and BevMo to price alcohol, and we helped my mom pick out carpet. My neck felt a little better that day, but not a whole lot. I pulled a list of “to be done” out of Lissa’s head in the car on the way back down to the Bay Area and when we got back I organized it into “Stuff to buy” “Errands to run” and “Projects to finish” and I think it ended up being helpful for them.

Wednesday I tagged along on more errands and then I met Leah at her work to pick up a key to her house. Then my friend the Irish German picked me up at a cafe, we had some tasty Pakistani food, and stopped at Berkeley Bowl (Pilgrimage!), and then we went back to his house in Oakland to relax for a while before we retrieved Dan at the airport. The Irish German co-owns his house with College Boyfriend, so I got a little update on College Boyfriend’s life (currently: off-again with his 10 year, on/off again gf) and got to hear all about how fertile his brothers are (he has one niece, another on the way, and his younger brother’s wife just found out she’s having twins). He had retired to his room by the time we returned from the airport, and everyone was just exhausted so we didn’t stay up late or anything, and I got to sleep in a Real Bed for the first time in nearly a week and it was so, so nice. I heart the Irish German.

Thursday, we made a tasty breakfast for our pal who let us sleep in his bed, and picked some veggies in his garden, and he drove us all over the place, meeting with Lissa and Curtis at the Oakland Flower Market for them to buy flowers and me to take them and deposit them in Leah and Simon’s basement, and then we had to go meet them again to get the other stuff they needed to give me (cooler, bowls for the event on Friday) and for Curtis to pick out the right orchid plant that would have enough flowers on it for the groomsmen’s bouts. We got back to the Irish German’s place pretty frazzled, so we relaxed for a while and logistics for Thursday night were worked out (a last-minute bachelor and bachelorette event came together, so Dan had to take our newly-acquired rental car down to the South Bay and went out to see Batman and play games at Dave and Buster’s with the boys, and I took BART over to the city, met up with my sisters and a couple of other ladies, and we watched Mamma Mia and then went out to an Irish Pub, and then I took the bus all the way across the city to Scarlett’s house where Dan and I stayed that night).

Friday we got up and going much later than I had hoped and it took us over an hour to get through the city and across the Bay. Luckily, we’d done our planning in advance so we knew exactly what we needed to buy at Costco and at Berkeley Bowl. And we lugged our groceries to Leah and Simon’s who graciously agreed to let us use their kitchen to cook the rehearsal dinner that Dan and I hosted that night for the happy couple. We made a green salad with veggies from the Irish German’s garden, and black bean/corn salad, and shrimp kabobs, and turkey burgers, and bought everything to go with, plus made some guacamole for the chips and salsa, and a great big apple pie and cookies from Costco. We hauled all the food up to the park in nasty traffic, but luckily the guests weren’t there yet since everyone else had to deal with the same traffic. We used a new portable grill that L&C got as a wedding gift, since the charcoal in the existing park grill didn’t work out so well (though it eventually caught after all the food was cooked and people used it to warm their hands; it gets cool up there once the sun goes down!) and successfully fed 26 guests (plus leftovers for Leah and Simon) for about $120. Not too shabby!

After the party was over, a big group went over to decorate the wedding afterparty venue but Dan and I went back to Leah and Simon’s to finish the handmade guestbook, relax and watch Flash Gordon (Dan) and put together all the personal flowers (me). I made 1 bridal bouquet, 4 bridesmaid bouquets, 2 flower girl nosegays, 5 groomsmen bouts, 3 other bouts (2 dads and Dan), and six corsages in about 3 and a half hours (I took a shower break) and got to bed around 1:30 AM. It was a long week, and I haven’t even written about the wedding yet.

Photos courtesy Laurel and someone using Lissa’s camera (not sure who!)

In brief

* I’m going to have to go on the record and say that tornadoes are probably the scariest natural phenomena to me. Luckily, I work in a basement so even if there were a tornado here I probably wouldn’t know about it. A whole bunch of tornados ripped through the northeast part of our fair state today, including some that went right through the area where Dan’s parents live and work (and my coworker lives/her husband works). Luckily, everyone I know up in that area is OK and presumably their dwellings are as well. Give me earthquakes any day; I know what to do in case of earthquake.

* I forgot to mention the best part of Saturday, which was that after we went to see Iron Man, we drove home and as we were driving through the alley to our parking spot we noticed a bicycle sprawled out in front of our car. This is unusual; people don’t just leave their bikes unattended out in the open here because that’s a good way to no longer have a bike. As we swerved around it, I noticed that there was a person lying in between two dumpsters next to the bike. We parked and took a closer look; the person was obviously breathing, but the bike’s handle was all mangled and it looked like he had maybe fallen off his bike and gotten knocked out. I tried to wake him up with my voice and by tapping his foot with mine, but he remained unconscious. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a bum, because what bum would decide sleeping in shorts and a t-shirt on a gravely, broken glass-y spot between two dumpsters while wearing a guitar on his back would be a good idea? So Dan called the police non-emergency line and told them the situation. Two minutes later, an ambulance, a fire truck, and two police cars showed up. I was inside, but Dan wanted to see how it all went down, and he reported that the guy was really unhappy to be awakened by paramedics (apparently, he was kind of rude about it, actually). We never found out if it was a bike accident (paramedic said “too much partying”) or whether the guy needed any sort of medical attention (drunk? high? both?) but it sure made things exciting on our block that Saturday night. And I guess the local emergency services didn’t have anything better to do.

* I have my second physical therapy appointment this afternoon. My leg’s feeling much better, and looking much better, though it’s still a bit painful when I rub it and when doing certain activities. And it gets tired easily. All I’ve done with it is walk a lot and ride the stationary bike, per PT’s orders, so I’m hoping that since I’m walking normally and seem to be doing better that he’ll OK more strenuous activity. It’s amazing how fast I start gaining weight when I’m not working out all the time or at least as much as I usually do. It really kind of sucks.

* This restaurant near my work that was closed for several months just reopened, and aforementioned coworker and I decided to try it out. The menu isn’t especially inspired, and their computers were down so they couldn’t charge our credit cards for our meal. So they told us it was on them. Score! Free lunch! Though I’ll probably go in there next week, cash in hand, and pay for it, because I feel bad. Also, I’ve heard told they serve gigantic slabs of cake. Just what I need when I can’t exercise very much. But they sounded Really Good.

Baby steps

It’s been a week since I messed up my leg, and today is the first day where I feel like there might be some improvement. My range of motion is better and I can walk a bit more normally (i.e., not just on the ball of my foot or stump-legged), though I still have to think about it and pay really close attention with each step as to how and where I put weight on my right foot. I walked to work today in the rain under the giant rainbow underella we bought for the wedding (in case it rained, which it didn’t) with my husband. It rains so rarely here in Denver that I always treasure it when it happens. Rain makes the air smell good and the ground bring forth more green.

The trees around here are finally mostly starting to get leaves, and the flowers on the trees are all but gone. The lilac bushes are beginning to bloom, which makes the air smell fantastic. I’m not going to begrudge another few weeks of spring weather; I’ll take what I can get before it starts to get hot. Our rose bushes are alive, as is the oregano and mint from last year, and we’re going to get some flowers on our irises for the first time since we moved in.

This afternoon I have an appointment with a trainer at the gym, someone with a background in sports injury, who I am hoping can give me some ideas of what sorts of exercises I can do while I heal. It’s a free consultation and I think just being back in the gym will make me feel better, even if all I can do is lift weights with my arms. I’m not willing to wait around another week just to talk to the physical therapist, and since I went through yesterday and (so far) today with no advil and I’m actually walking some, I don’t see any need to wait. I do plan to take it easy, though.

My leg still hurts, though not nearly as acutely, and it is also itching, which to me means it is healing. I know that it may be a long time before it is all the way better, and I’m going to have to be really careful with it for months, perhaps years, so I don’t reinjure it. Mostly I am just thankful that my body is relatively young and healthy, that I have every expectation that it will heal, and in a few weeks or months I won’t even remember what it felt like to tear that muscle. I was thinking about this when we were in the Oakland Airport on Sunday evening waiting for our flight, and one of our fellow passengers was a good-looking surfer type guy in board shorts, with one real and one prosthetic leg. I was feeling really sorry for myself, because my leg hurt a lot and it looked really gross, but at least I had both of my legs. I was thinking about this today as I read a blog by a person with an incurable disease, someone who is mostly bedridden at the age of 23 (I think), someone who has been fighting infection and disease and the inability to do what every other young person can do since the age of 12. I don’t read her blog very frequently, but when I do I am reminded that despite how much pain a person might be in, despite the knowledge that one will never live a “normal” life, there is still good to be had, life still worth living.

My leg hurts, but it will heal. It’s a good reminder that I shouldn’t take anything about what I can still do (or anything I can do when I’m not injured) for granted.