Sunday, November 20, 2011

But I want an oompa loompa now!!!

Having one of those Veruca Salt weeks - I want it all, and I want it now!!!!

Work has been tough. I took a new position 6 months ago, and I'm still not comfortable with it. I'm not the "best" at anything. There are 3 of us doing the same job - one is better than me technically, and the other is better with the business acumen. I'm good at both... but I'm not the best at either. I can't stop beating myself up for every little mis-step. I know once I know my stuff, and get up to speed, I'll be the most well-rounded... but for now I just feel not quite good enough. Had major problems with a work project this week, and I'm drained. It doesn't help when the boss says "you're the best at documentation" - instead of making me feel good about the clarity of my communications... it makes me feel like I'm the secretary of my counterparts. I know it's not meant that way, but my confidence is shot.

And of course, working 70+ hours means I haven't made it to the gym in 6 days. Depressing. It's another case of I want it, and I want it now. The changes just don't seem to be coming fast enough. In my head, I know I've lost 25 lbs this year... but I look in the mirror and I still see someone who is obese.

Ugh. That's all I've got.. ugh. Okay ladies, help me out... how do you drive home "patience" and change your perception of things when you know you aren't quite seeing the word as it is, but you're own skewed view?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm not too late!!!

Pic to follow soon, but I'm so excited I can't hold the post for the pic. I'm not too late! Audrey II has another bud that's growing - I may actually get to see her bloom this year!

Friday, August 5, 2011

I'm just a mean green mother from outer space and I'm bad!

Meet my favorite plant, affectionately known as Audrey II (A2 for short). Umm... if anyone reading this isn't a total theater/musical geek... please rent Little Shop of Horrors. Please?

A2 is hideous. She's taken over my entire bay window. Usually I tuck all of the tendrils back behind the drapes, or else you see this...

Some of those tendrils or branches, or well, let's face it - they look like tentacles, are over 5 feet long. I wanted to make sure I'm not exaggerating - so I measured. The one on the left is 5 foot, 3 inches. Very, very close to my height. There are weird spiky "things" that are up and down the tendrils. A2 is a fugly plant and the more she grows, the more disturbing she looks.

So why keep the monstrosity in the bay window? If I must keep it, why isn't she locked away in a room where no one can see her?

Audrey II was my Dad's. His father, (Poppy), only brought two things with him when he traveled from Equador to the United States in 1920. This plant, and a machete for cutting sugar cane. The plant is probably close to 100 years old. Poppy loved all of his plants, always had beautiful gardens and fruit trees. Whenever I visited him, he'd take me all around the yard explaining how to nurture each one. He was a sweet, sweet man - the same temperament as my Dad. Nonny... well, not so much. It's the men in the family who are sweet. The women are strong and fierce and more than a little prickly. But the men love them for some beauty that not every one can see... much like Audrey II.

She's a night blooming cereus, Reina de la Noche, Queen of the Night. A type of flowering cactus. They're nocturnal blooms that only last a single evening. Supposedly they're beautiful flowers that have a very strong aroma. They're supposed to look like this -

I wouldn't know from personal experience. I've never seen ours bloom. Never. Dad only got her to bloom once, in the early 70's, before he met my mom. There's a picture somewhere of Dad standing next to her at night, with all of the blooms. But we've never been able to reproduce it. So poor Audrey II has been stuck as an ugly plant that everyone complains about. Mom is always after me to trim her back some. My husband "jokes" that he's scare of the plant. I don't really think it's a joke. Me, I love her. I always hope that just water and letting her be will induce flowers. I've read up on what to do, what not to do... and I just leave her alone. She gets a quart of water every week, and that's about it. Every two weeks in the winter to keep her dormant.

She's one of the few things I have left of my Dad's. When Mom lost the house, I got Audrey II, my Dad's favorite kayaking hat that made him look like an Australian farmer, and an antique ice chest that's in my dining room (the hooch hutch!). I have plenty of memories, but not a lot of sentimental keepsakes.

Where's this all going? Well... darling Baron is in Vegas this weekend for Defcon. I'm home alone, just me and the dog. A few days ago I noticed a funny smell in the living room. Not a bad smell, just not the smell of home. Slightly musky. It's been driving me nuts. Today after work I went searching for the smell.

I found this...

The remnants of a single bloom. I missed it. She hasn't bloomed in almost 40 years, and I missed the one night she did. I sobbed. Hysterically. For an hour. I called my mother sobbing, and I couldn't speak, just sobbed like a child on the phone. She thought something had happened to my husband, and then she almost choked laughing when she realized what happened. Monday was Dad's birthday. Next week is the third anniversary of his passing. And his plant finally bloomed.

In typical "Mayor of Crazytown" fashion... she's slightly annoyed with me. This is a direct quote... "Dad always talks to you more than he talks to me". The logical part of me knows that I just let the plant be long enough to bloom. They like to be left alone. It takes 5 years worth of leaf growth before they'll bloom, and they like to be pot bound. Perfect houseplant for someone with a brown thumb. But the little girl in me is heartbroken that it was a gift from Dad that I didn't see in time to appreciate. Sigh.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Remember Madeline?

Well she and I have finally been spending some quality time together. Last weekend I had a 7 mile ride and an 8.5 mile ride. Yesterday we did 11.5 miles on the Hop River Trail, and today we did the full 7.8 miles of linear trail in Southington (part of the Farmington Canal Greenway).

I must confess, I had no intention of doing the full trail today. I had already walked for 40 mins with the Mayor in the morning, and have an evening walk planned with Baron. I thought I could go for a really quick bike ride this afternoon - everything I read stated that it was only a 1.9 mile trail, which would be a little less than 4 miles by the time I was done. No brainer - a 20-25 mins bike ride. Ummm... little did I know that they extended the trail by 2 miles this year. Oops!

I think I mentioned that I started WW this week. For probably the 15th time. I'm very hopeful, it feels different this time. I feel different this time. I've figured out that while I want to lose weight, that's no longer my motivation. I want to be healthy.

It seems to be the year for reflection. Maybe it's just that many of us are starting to stare down another year evenly divisible by 10, maybe it's that we're going through major life changes, maybe it's just the overall mood of the state after such a tough economic turn and then a brutal winter. But it seems to come up every time I get together with friends. We're getting older, our bodies don't work the way they used to, and it's either now or never.

Yes, I need to lose 50 lbs. Yes, I'm going to be 40 this year. Neither of those things alone is bothering me. I'm bothered that I have at least 4 major flags to coronary disease. I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm very, very scared of being sick. I've never really had health issues, but the thought of stroke, heart attack, diabetes, are constantly playing through my mind.

Major indicators of future coronary disease:

  • BMI over 30 - check! I hate admitting to this one, but I've been hovering between 30-32 for the better part of the last decade
  • Waist circumference over 35 (duh, I'm a classic "apple" shape and obese)
  • Smoker
  • High cholesterol - I was tested last year, and my triglycerides are through the roof, as well as high bad cholesterol and low good
  • Hereditary heart disease - nothing I can do about this one. But my paternal grandmother had quadruple bypass at age 40. 2 of the other grandparents had Type 2 diabetes. My mother and aunt both had high cholesterol and high blood pressure by the time they were 50. Genetic cesspool.
It's enough to leave me scared. What I want from the next year of my life:
  • BMI under 30 by the big 40. Not sure if this is doable. It's about 10% weight loss in 12 weeks. While that might not be a big deal for most people... I didn't get this way by eating small portions and exercising.
  • BMI under 25 by June 2012. Very reasonable. A slow steady 1 pound per week would get me there. The weight loss itself is reasonable, it's the motivation to stick with it that could cause problems.
  • Become physically active. I know this is a little nebulous, so I thought about what I really want to be able to do that would let me consider myself "fit". I want to be able to run. Not a marathon, but actually run for more than 30 seconds without dying. I want to be able to ride my bike 25 + miles on a weekend ride. And most importantly... I want to participate in one competitive sporting event before I'm 41.
  • I want to quit smoking. Quite frankly, I don't know how long I can continue smoking and trying to increase my activity level. My lungs give out long before my legs do.
Wow. I guess I have a lot on my mind this week about health. I know there's only a few friends reading, so I hope you don't mind if the blog turns in to long diatribes about struggles with health and being middle aged. But it's just where I'm at these days.

Monday, May 30, 2011

New Beginnings

I've been in the new job for about a month now... and I'm still grinning from ear to ear every time I walk in to the building. Trying to keep up, learn, and make myself productive as soon as possible is stressful - but nothing compared to the stress I was under with the old job. This weekend Chey commented that I was being very supportive (I know it was a joke - but I also know that it's true - I'm not the same person I was 3 months ago), the Mayor said over breakfast on Sunday how much happier I am, and Baron has been thrilled at how calm I've been, and been home in time to make dinner every night!

I'm a little taken aback... I must have been a stark raving bitch while I was caught up in the misery and drama of the old job. But I'll take this as a new beginning. Time to focus on family, friends, and trying to take care of myself.

Now that I'm less stressed and on a normal sleep schedule for the first time in 2 years, it's time to start over on diet and exercise. No more excuses about being too tired to take care of myself.

I started this weekend by doing rides on local bike paths on Saturday and today. Saturday was out near Bolton with a friend and her sister. We logged about 7 miles. Beautiful, flat, gravel path. I was so in love with the bike path, I convinced Baron that we should do one out of Avon today. About 8.5 miles today - but I am so outta shape - the hills in Simsbury damn near killed me. Had to turn around, it was just too much for our first weekend out on the path. Of course I've been obsessed with the Greenway since our town voted to look at plans to connect with two adjacent towns - but this is the first weekend I've been out on the trails. Even Baron was impressed with how clean, well laid out and maintained they are.

Now to start back on eating less. I'd love to say "eating healthier" - but that's not the problem. I eat between 5-10 fruits and veggies a day. I get 2 servings of dairy (greek yogurt and a glass of Silk). I only eat red meat twice a month, and I only use olive oil, I pretty much gave up butter and other oils almost a year ago. But the sheer volume of food I eat is atrocious.

Sigh. I can't understand why diets never work for me. I'm starting WW with the Mayor this week. Well, we were supposed to start last week, but a friend who retired and moved to NYC was up for a few days, so I might have blown off WW to go to Sliders for beer and wings. Perhaps there's a connection between that and why I don't do well on diets? Hmmm....

Oh well. Here's to new beginnings. For great things to come for all the besties. We're all entering new phases in our lives. It's exciting, it's scary, but I'm glad I've always got you guys to hang out with on the journey.

Friday, April 22, 2011


Don't tell anyone... but I LOVE my new job! I've only just started - half day on Wednesday, full day today. I feel like I can finally breathe again. Literally.

My first day, I asked my boss what she wants me to do, and I was told "Unpack, set up your desk, introduce yourself to everyone, and leave on time". Ummm, I don't know what to do with that. I told her so - I have to do SOMETHING. The reply "breathe. I'm not going to put pressure on you, you'll put enough on yourself".

So I'm breathing. Slowly. In and out. Finally realizing what a bad place my head has been at in terms of work. How that's been effecting my life. Grateful for my now 8 min commute to work. Thankful to see sunshine when I leave on time.

I even went for a quick bike ride with Baron when I got home today. Sigh.

I feel awful for my friends at the old job. They know something is wrong where they are. They know they're tired, having a hard time making it in to work, emotional, cranky, lethargic, having panic attacks. I wish I could take them all with me. But for now, I'm focusing on the ability to breathe again.

Friday, February 18, 2011


I'm back! I know, it's been a long time since I've posted anything, but here I am ready to rant and rave.

Things have heated up at work - the massively long lasting project that's been in development for almost 10 years is in the final sprint to production. Scheduled production date is mid-May. It should be a relief, it should be exhilarating, but... it's not. It's exhausting and frustrating. I usually like this period of time of a project - there's a lot of running around, long hours, fast pace, and I thrive on the adrenaline of it all.

But this is different. We've been working long hours for years, there's been a constant state of panic, we've had so many leadership changes in the last 16 months it's ridiculous - I think the total is 9 managers leaving since Dec 2009 (I heard about another one resigning today, but it's not officially confirmed yet). We are having a vendor change - so the vendor partners that built the system won't be here for implementation. It's review time, and our roles are being restructured with possible tier changes. A lot of change to deal with all at once, at a time when we really need to be focused on getting this product wrapped up and ready for delivery.

And we've been put on mandatory OT. 10+ hour days and weekends. Not a huge deal, to be expected. I average about 50 hours a week most weeks (no where near what many people put in on our project and in the dept) but I'm running between 65-70 hours a week right now. Still no where near what some of my coworkers are putting in.

But here's the ranting and raving part - there are some people that aren't putting in 40 hours. I'm tweaked about it. I know it's none of my business, my job is to do my job and feel like I've put in as much as I can to make the project successful. And yet - one person said that they were just going to log 50 hours a week in to the time sheet and keep working their normal 35 hours just so it keeps management off their back. This person won't have it reflected in their review. Or it might be in the review, but they'll go to HR claiming discrimination and get the ranking changed. Like it was the last time their performance was questioned.

Ugh! I'm just frustrated at the unbalance and unjustness of the situation. I see most of the people I work with sacrificing their personal lives, their "balance", pitching in to help out when someone needs it - even if it means another night without their family, and they are just dead exhausted on their feet - and a few are just taking advantage and coasting.

I should probably just call my mother in the morning - I think it's time to hear the "life isn't fair" lecture. Thanks for listening to me whine. I'm hoping I'll have something a little more positive to say soon!